Here in Australia, the average home throws away 1 in every 5 bags of groceries. That adds up to a whopping 2.5 million tonnes of food waste in landfills each year.
We get it, sometimes food just doesn't last in your refrigerator as long as you'd hoped, but is there a way we can stop this waste from filling up our landfills with the greenhouse gas emitting waste? The short answer is - yes!
By installing your own DIY compost bin, you can take part in the movement that's changing the way Australians handle their waste.
Want to know how to start a compost bin of your own? Follow along to discover how to make a DIY compost bin for your home and everything else you need to know to make composting your new go-to.
How to Make a Compost Bin
Before you start on your DIY compost bin, you'll need to source some materials for your job.
Fear not! You won't have to spend a fortune on building a compost bin. Instead, you can reduce your ecological footprint even more by repurposing materials you already have lying around the house.
This could be some old wood, a large bin with a lid, or even any old container of sorts. Once you've chosen a material, it's time to set to work to create a few key compost bin elements.
First things first, you'll need a bit of aeration for your compost. This may look different depending on which building materials you've chosen.
If you're using a plastic bin or other material that you can poke or drill holes in, this step will be easy. For wood or even cement compost bins, leave a few breathing holes in the sides and top as you create your composting box.
If you wish to use worms for composting, these air holes will be essential to keep the living organisms around. As a bonus, you could even bury your DIY compost bin in the ground with large enough holes for the worms to come and go. This will allow your worms to actually fertilize the surrounding soil for you and encourage an amazing hands-free garden!
Now that you've got your compost container ready, all you need to do is start the compost mixture.
How to Start a Compost Bin
Before you start piling leftovers into your bin, you'll need to start a mixture that will work to break down the compostable materials you add.
To do this, you'll need to start by filling your bin about 1/4 of the way with organic compost materials such as grass, leaves, or even newspaper.
After this, you'll top your bin up to the halfway mark with dirt. This doesn't have to be special soil, any dirt around your garden will do the trick.
If you decide to go the worm farm route, this is where you'll introduce the little critters. Disperse the worms through the mixture and give them a kickstart with some organic food waste such as banana peels or vegetable cores. To keep them warm and happy, top your DIY compost bin off with a worm blanket just below the lid.
You can make your own worm blanket by layering old cotton t-shirts or sewing some rags together.
Whether you opt for worms or decide to go critter-free, you're all set to go!
What Can You Put in a Compost Bin?
Now that your DIY compost bin is ready for action, it's time to start breaking down organics. For especially smelly food waste, we suggest digging about 5-10 cms into the mixture to bury the odour.
As you add items, give your compost bin a stir on a weekly basis. This will help the items break down more efficiently. And finally, each time you add compost to your bin, give it a spritz with some water to keep the soil slightly damp.
So what can you put in your compost bin? Perhaps more than you thought!
- Fruit and vegetable peels and waste
- Coffee grounds
- Tea leaves and paper tea bags
- Weeds, grass clippings, and leaves
- Dead plants and flowers
- Cooked rice and pasta
- Bread and bread crumbs
- Old dried herbs and spices
- Even Eggshells!â€‹ (Break them up)
Beyond the basics, you can reduce your waste by popping things in your DIY compost bin such as:
- Paper products like newspaper, non-glossy junk mail, and office/school paper (shredded for best results)
- Torn up cardboard boxes
- Bedding from pets like hamsters, guinea pigs, and rabbits
- Nutshells (except walnut shells)
- Used napkins
- Toilet paper, paper towel, or wrapping paper tubes
- Brown paper shopping bags or lunch bags (shredded)
- Compostable bags and packaging
- Cotton balls
- And so much more!
How to Use a Compost Bin
If you've been wondering 'how does a compost bin work', the answer is really quite simple.
Because compostable items break down quite easily, all they need is somewhere damp and earthy to start their decomposing. This means that all you need to do to make it work is keep your bin topped up and damp. By stirring it regularly, you'll also create air pockets in the mixture that allow for a faster breakdown of organic materials!
As the materials are decomposed, they nourish the soil in the bin, making it the perfect fertilizer for your garden.
What are the Benefits of a Compost Bin?
Not sold on composting yet? Some of the benefits of this amazing system may change your mind!
Composting produces the best, nutrient-rich materials to contribute to the circular economy. This means you could even begin to grow your own beautiful and chemical-free foods in your backyard!
Beyond this, the amount of waste you'll reduce is incredibly good for the environment. By keeping methane gas out of the landfill, you'll be a part of the conservation of our precious planet.
And of course, composting is easy and inexpensive. You can make your bin with materials from around your home and may even cut down on your rubbish collection costs by keeping your organic waste out of your bin!
Get Started With Your DIY Compost Bin
Now that you know how to build a compost bin in your backyard, you can set to work on your eco-friendly project. From keeping waste out of the landfill to nourishing your garden, you'll love the benefits of your very own DIY compost bin.
Tired of throwing plastic packaging in the bin? Check out our range of compostable plastic-free packaging options and take your composting awareness to the next level!