waste is an important ingredient for a home compost bin. It
enriches the compost and is a good source of green, sappy material.
During the summer there is lots of material going in
to our compost bins so it is easy to mix in the kitchen waste.
During the winter we have lots of raw fruit and veg
peelings for composting, but not much else. So how can we use them
to make compost, not a smelly, soggy mess?
And yes - tea bags can be
Luckily there are several ways: –
In a compost bin
When you only put kitchen scraps in the bin, they rot down very
slowly and start to stink. This is because the heap gets too wet and
airless when there is no fibre to absorb the moisture and create air
What to do:
Mix in crumpled or shredded paper or card; cardboard egg boxes,
kitchen towel and the centres of toilet rolls. Straw or guinea pig
or rabbit hay bedding will also work well. A couple of handfuls of
topsoil sprinkled over the mix will introduce soil bacteria to help
the composting process.
With low winter temperatures composting happens slowly, but this
mixture will gradually produce good results and there will be no
In a wormery
the Green Cone
This is designed to handle raw and even cooked kitchen scraps. A
basket is sunk into the ground, with its rim at soil level. Two
plastic cones, an inner black and outer green one with a lid, are
screwed to the basket. You can add up to 2 caddies of food scraps
every week and over 2 or 3 years [3 in the Borders], this will rot
down into first class compost. The air between the black and green
shells heats up and is pumped through the rubbish in the basket.
Provided you don’t fill the Cone above ‘basket’ or ground level it
will work well and there will be no unpleasant odours.
In the Green Johanna
This composting unit is also available from Green Cone. It has a
perforated, rigid, plastic bottom screwed to it. This sits on
the ground and the bin will process raw and/or cooked food when mixed with
garden waste. A special ‘winter jacket’ can be added during the
In a Bokashi bin
Bokashi is the Japanese word for ‘fermentation’. Bokashi bran has a
molasses base and is enriched with microbes that will help it act as
an accelerator. Raw or cooked scraps are put in a sealed bucket. A
thin layer of bran is sprinkled on the scraps, and this is, in turn,
covered with more food scraps. Once the bucket is full, it should be
left to ferment for 2 – 3 weeks. It will not have changed its
appearance but can now be added to a compost unit. A second bucket
is used while the first one is fermenting.
And don’t forget Trench Composting
This was a traditional way of composting kitchen scraps over the
winter. Dig a trench to at least a spit’s [spade’s] depth [2 spits
are better, if you can.] Place the dug out soil to one side of the
trench. You then put a bucketful of scraps into the trench and cover
it with soil to conceal any smell of of decaying vegetation. Work
along the trench, layering the scraps till it is full. This will rot
down nicely producing a rich bed, ideal for runner beans! You should
not try this method if you’re troubled by foxes or badgers – they
will quickly sniff out the food!
allows you to dispose of raw kitchen waste and spent compost even if
you only have a balcony or tiny garden.
A Hot Bin should compost a mixture of kitchen and garden waste
faster than an uninsulated bin. Follow the manufacturers
There are lots of ways to
successfully compost kitchen waste.
For a summary of the different bins see