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Composting cuts rubbish by 45%

Composting cuts rubbish by 45%

Updated 18 July 2012 2:40pm

The average household can reduce the rubbish it sends to the landfill by nearly two thirds. You can achieve the greatest reductions by keeping plant material and food waste out of your rubbish bag. Simply composting food scraps and garden waste could reduce your rubbish by a huge 45%.

CompostThe results of composting are almost all positive:

  • Less volume of rubbish in the landfill
  • Fewer products that generate leachate in the landfill
  • Less energy used to transport and process your waste
  • Cheap nutrients (food) for your garden
  • Clay busting, water retaining humus
  • Soil carbon storage; and,
  • Composting gives you worms! Well, gives your garden worms


From a greenhouse gas point of view home composting produces about the same amount of methane as commercial composting or putting the organic waste into the landfill. However, some larger landfills burn the methane in flares changing it to carbon dioxide which is a less potent GHG than methane. Want to see some natural methane flares?

The downside of composting is the vermin that come for a free feed. Plus, anaerobic (without air) decomposition stinks (methane again).


Pointers on starting a compost system

Start with a scraps bucket with a lid. Make sure the bucket fits easily into your kitchen. And remember to wash it with hot, soapy water each time you empty it.Compost bucket

Choose a compost storage system that suits you. The large bottomless bins that are wider at the bottom than the top are ideal. They are light and easy to lift off when it is time to turn the heap. You may wish to add a second closed pre-treatment bin to the production line to store the fresh scraps until you have plenty of garden waste to build a big heap in an open bottomed bin. That way you won’t be putting food out to feed rats and mice.

Next, site your compost heap somewhere easy to get to, even on a cold, rainy winter’s night. Make sure there is space around it to work including room to turn the compost. Install a bait station, buy plenty of bait for rats and mice and you’re ready to roll.

Rats and mice make life difficult for birds, and the plants birds live on. Rats not only eat the berries and leaves that native birds need for food, they also eat eggs, chicks and nesting adult birds.