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compost 1Why Compost?

Backyard composting is the most effective and environmentally-friendly way to manage the organic "waste" your home produces, transforming your "trash" into "treasure". A single household can compost over 500 kg of kitchen scraps, low-quality papers and yard trimmings per year, resulting in over 100 kg of free fertilizer!

Almost two-thirds of North Shore households compost their organics, keeping almost 9,000 tonnes from curbside collection for disposal. But still, 25% of the 24,000 tonnes of garbage picked up from North Shore houses could be backyard composted.
Managing organics in your yard reduces pollution, our carbon footprint and disposal costs, while improving our environment and keeping organics in the ecological cycle. It also reduces your need to store smelly garbage indoors until the morning of collection and reduces hauling heavy waste to the curb.

How Composting Works

Your compost bin works through the effort of bacteria. All you need to do is create the right conditions in your bin for bacteria to thrive and they'll create rich, earthy-smelling compost out of your home and garden scraps.

Bacteria need three things:

1. An EQUAL MIX of "Brown" (carbon-rich) and "Green" (nitrogen-rich) material

Nitrogen provides the protein for bacteria to grow and multiply; Carbon provides the energy bacteria need to do the work of composting.  For every bucket of kitchen scraps or lawn clippings, add an equal volume of fallen leaves or paper products. Always cover "green" material with a 3-4" layer of "brown" material. Click here for a list of "green" and "brown" material. For more information on "Brown" material, view our video on "Carbon Sources".

2. Oxygen

Oxygen-loving (aerobic) bacteria transform organic material into compost without bad odours. Add oxygen at least once a week using a Wingdigger™, pitchfork or strong stick. The more you aerate, the faster you will have finished compost.  If the contents of your bin get too compacted, anaerobic bacteria will ferment your food scraps, creating rotten-eggs or ammonia odours. Click here for more information on aerating your compost bin.

3. Moisture

Without water, living organisms die. The contents of your compost bin should have the moisture level of a damp, wrung-out sponge. The fresh "green" material you add to your bin will usually provide enough water; however, if your bin is in the sun, you are using a lot of dry brown material or it is a particularly hot summer, you may need to water to the contents of the bin to keep the bacteria and other decomposers alive.

These three things will ensure a successful compost bin; if any one is missing, conditions will not be optimal for oxygen-loving bacteria and your compost bin may slow down, get slimy or smell bad.

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Composting tips and troubleshooting:

For more information, view our video "How Composting Works":

Click here to view "How Composting Works" on YouTube.

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Your Personal Compost Expert

Feed-Your-Food-CarrotsLearn how to
minimize common composting problems, set up and use the Green Can program and create less waste!
Click here to learn more.

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hether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, you're guaranteed to learn something new and how to:

minimize common composting problems,

improve your finished compost and

take less garbage to the curb.


Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, you're guaranteed to learn something new and how to:

·minimize common composting problems,

·improve your finished compost and

·take less garbage to the curb.

Myth: Worms are necessary to make compost

North Shore Recycling Program WormsBacteria, not worms, do most of the work in your compost bin. Other larger, visible decomposers (such as worms, wood bugs, slugs, snails and ants) may be present in your compost ecosystem, but are not necessary for success. Worms do physically break down organic matter, but when your compost pile heats up, worms will head for cooler pastures until the pile matures and cools.

A mass of worms in a backyard compost bin is a sign that you should be providing more energy (“browns”) to speed your compost up; a very active compost bin will be warm and not have an abundance of worms.

Study finds Backyard Composting Undervalued