How and why to start composting

April 18, 2020

Whether you stay in a flat, an apartment, a complex, a small house or a large piece of land, you can start composting now!

The planet will thank you for it.

We have recently moved and thought about what would be the best way to compost on our new premises. And we have decided to use all 3 of the methods that we are familiar with in order to see which one works best for us. Also, because we have quite a bit of kitchen scraps, 3 different composting methods work really well for us.

Now might be a time where you are thinking of becoming more self-sufficient, or maybe you are reflecting on how to be more sustainable and lower your carbon footprint.

Here are a couple of reasons to consider composting:

1. You’re helping the planet.

By composting your food scraps, paper waste and biodegradable packaging, you are reducing the amount of waste that gets buried in the landfills. 30 – 50% of our waste is compostable, and throwing it in the landfills produces methane gas. Methane gas is 23 – 30 times more toxic than carbon dioxide

2. Create your own ‘black gold’.

The only way to grow great plants is with compost. Adding compost rebuilds the soil, which is essential for the ecosystem of the soil, and in turn, our environment.

3. It’s an easy DIY project that doesn’t take up much time or resources.

There are a couple of different composting methods, and even if you live in a flat, you can still do your part in composting.

Where to start and how to start?

Firstly, decide which method of composting you would like to do.

a.) Bucket / bin composting.

For this composting method you will need:

– 1 bucket, some bricks to stand it on and a tray for underneath, or 2 buckets

– Nitrogen-rich or ‘Green’ waste: i.e. kitchen scraps (fruits and vegetable scraps, tea bags,
coffee grounds)

– Carbon-rich or ‘brown’ waste: i.e. garden refuse (leaves, twigs, paper towel etc)

– Soil or manure (optional)

  • Drill some holes into the bottom and the bottom sides of one of the buckets.
  • Place that bucket inside of the other bucket or on top of the bricks with a ‘drip tray’ underneath.
  • Add some browns at the bottom and greens on top and then cover with more browns or soil (make sure your greens to browns ratio is 1:2 / 1:3). Water it a little bit. Make sure that you always cover the greens with browns.
  • Close the compost bin with the lid. Make sure it keeps moist. Add greens and browns when you need to and turn once a week or so.
  • Your compost bin should generate heat.

b.) Create a compost heap in the garden

For this composting method you will need:

– 1 metre squared ground space

– Nitrogen-rich or ‘Green’ waste: i.e. kitchen scraps (fruits and vegetable scraps, tea bags, coffee grounds)

– Carbon-rich or ‘brown’ waste: i.e. garden refuse (leaves, twigs, etc)

– Soil or manure (optional, but recommended)

– A metal dome or thick black plastic sheet to cover (optional, but recommended if you want to create heat quickly)

  • Add some browns at the bottom and greens on top and then cover with more browns or soil (make sure your greens to browns ratio is 1:2 / 1:3). Water it a little bit. Make sure that you always cover the greens with browns.
  • Cover the compost bin with a lid, grass clipping or leaves. Make sure it keeps moist. Add greens and browns when you need to and turn once a week or so.
  • Your compost heap should generate heat.

c.) Bokashi Bin composting

This is not a ‘full’ composting method. The bokashi composting scraps need to be added to an existing compost heap or buried in the garden.

For this process you will need:

– The Bokashi kit (available by

*The nice thing about this system is that you can add meat and dairy products (just no liquids).

*We would recommend having 2 of these systems, even if you make the second bucket system yourself by placing one bucket with holes in the bottom inside of another bucket that is collecting the bokashi liquid

*Dilute the reddish bokashi liquid in water to help give your plants a boost

Some extra tips:

  • The smaller you cut up the waste, the quicker your compost will be ready.
  • Your compost should not smell bad, if you compost is smelling bad, make sure you have enough brown waste.
  • Use the ‘compost’ tea, diluted, from the composting bin to fertilise your plants.
  • Always cover kitchen scraps with soil or leaves in the compost heap, this prevents it from smelling, helps it break down quicker and ensures that the pile does not attract unwanted pests.

There are so many tips and method online. There is no excuse not to compost.

Some countries have drop-off area where you can drop off kitchen scraps, but for now, there are no drop off areas in Gauteng that we are aware of. If you know of any places, please comment below and let us know 🙂

Happy Composting!

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