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Unexpected things that can be composted

edited 26 March 2013 at 9:15PM in Green & Ethical MoneySaving
19 replies 14.8K views
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  • building_with_legobuilding_with_lego Forumite
    2.6K posts
    Tenth Anniversary 1,000 Posts I've been Money Tipped!
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    The cotton nappies I used for my two children composted away to just the thread binding within five weeks :D
    They call me Dr Worm... I'm interested in things; I'm not a real doctor but I am a real worm. :grin:
  • kingmonkeykingmonkey Forumite
    846 posts
    On the theme of nappies and human waste like dust from vacuum cleaners... you could compost your faeces. I mean you have no problem composting chicken or cow faeces.
  • But that requires a compost toilet. People like me who live in rented homes can't just install one! (If I owned my own house, however, it would be a different story...)
  • JJ72_2JJ72_2 Forumite
    1 posts
    I've only had my bins less than a year, am quite excited about the results. I haven't even dared open either at the bottom in case I'm disappointed. I've never turned or mixed any of it up though, I just put stuff in the top and figure that the stuff at the bottom will be what I pull out and use. I do try and spread stuff out and not have too much of one thing in either bin. They're both about 4ft tall and are nearly full so it's too late to turn the stuff at the bottom. Should I be turning it next time I put stuff in there?

    Hiya,

    In answer to your question, Yes, you should be turning the contents, this is needed to mix up the items and aerate the compost.

    I'd also recommend adding a sprinkle of "garrotta" (available from all good garden centres & DIY chains) each time you add a significant amount of new material to be composted, as this helps accelerate the rotting process.

    With regards to the tall plastic bins, I haven't had too much luck with those to be honest - I've found them hard to turn and they don't seem to rot very quickly - my grass cuttings were still clearly grass nearly a year later! (My compost is mostly grass, which may be a factor)

    My current approach is is to make a 3-sided "box" (I use paving slabs) and have a loose heap in that. This makes turning with a fork easy, plus it gets rained on occasionally, which helps.

    Finally, when the kids are caught short outside, they can wee on the heap as well, which is also a good additive for the rotting process! Grass rots down within several weeks and becomes soil within a year.

    I hope this helps and good luck! :)

    JJ
  • marichmarich Forumite
    125 posts
    Thanks to the recent post for reminding us that a bit of pee (diluted) helps to get the stuff rotted down .

    It's easy enough if you're out there already to have a handy container , but in wintertime I collect any night-pee and the first of the morning (the best apparently) and use that . I suppose it's easier for (old) boys like me !

    Another tip came from Jim McColl of The Beechgrove Garden fame . He uses a spadeful of soil every now and then . He says the soil has all the beasties and bugs you are looking for to do the job in a compost heap .

    I suppose it's like using a bucketful from one pond to start off the life in another .

    Hair , nail and lumps of bone don't compost .
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  • kingmonkey wrote: »
    I suppose what most people don't realise is that you can compost all food waste - including meat, bones and small amounts of oil safely if you achieve hot composting.

    It's not adviseable to attempt the composting of meat, bones or any animal matter (except washed and crushed egg shells) on a domestic compost heap as it's incredibly difficult to achieve the high heat necessary to start the composting process. The Bokashi method of composting which takes place in a sealed bin in the kitchen is preferable for waste which cannot be placed on an outside compost heap. Also, putting animal waste on an outside heap can encourage rats and other vermin and before you know it, you've got rats nesting in the heap!
  • SailorSamSailorSam Forumite
    22.8K posts
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    kingmonkey wrote: »
    On the theme of nappies and human waste like dust from vacuum cleaners... you could compost your faeces. I mean you have no problem composting chicken or cow faeces.

    I would think the difference in composting some animal pooh and human pooh would be that animals such as cows eat grass, most people eat meat. So if meat can't be composted neither can any pooh which may contain it.
    Liverpool is one of the wonders of Britain,
    What it may grow to in time, I know not what.

    Daniel Defoe: 1725.
  • rogerblackrogerblack Forumite
    9.4K posts
    SailorSam wrote: »
    I would think the difference in composting some animal pooh and human pooh would be that animals such as cows eat grass, most people eat meat. So if meat can't be composted neither can any pooh which may contain it.

    Meat and human faeces can be composted just fine.
    It requires a large amount of 'brown' matter - cardboard, wood shavings, paper, straw, ... to make a balanced compost, but composts fine, in a properly setup heap.

    The problems are that if the heap isn't properly managed, and at a high temperature, it risks other undersired stuff happening - for example, maggots or vermin getting in to it, or rotted meat with dangerous pathogens if it's really not heated up.

    In an industrial environment, with proper compost management, there isn't any problem composting meat - other than regulatory.
    Also, if recycling is picked up every 2 weeks only - in summer - that's quite long enough for a nasty fly infestation to occur.
  • MumsieMumsie Forumite
    26 posts
    How can I keep the rabbits out? Can I compost sheep poo? I've got loads of it.
    Charles J
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