Wealden residents offered food waste digesters for gardens

AT A TIME when demand for peat by gardeners is eroding England’s natural peat stocks, alternative non-peat based compost is vital to sustainable gardening in the future.

A report by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs says the extraction of lowland peat is leading to the emission of 400,000 tonnes of CO2 each year, the equivalent to the exhaust gases of 100,000 cars.

To encourage more home composting during Compost Awareness Week (1 - 7 May), Wealden District Council is offering residents a limited number of Green Johanna food waste digesters at a bargain price.

The ‘Green Jo’s’ are similar in size to normal compost bins but the sealed units means it can be used for food waste, including cooked food, meat and fish, as well as garden waste. At a reduced price of £19.95, it can be delivered to your door. They are only available to Wealden residents. Call 0800 731 2572 quoting your postcode.

East Sussex County Council is also offering reduced-price garden compost bins, wormeries and Bokashi composters (which use special bran containing micro-nutrients to break down all kitchen waste including cooked food, meats and cheese). To find out more, visit their web site or call 0844 571 4444. For home deliveries there’s a buy one, get the second half price offer on compost bins and water butts.

Compost Awareness Week aims to encourage more people to wake up to the benefits of home composting instead of using peat-based soil nutrients. Defra has been consulting on plans to phase out the use of all horticultural peat by amateur gardeners by 2020 and has just completed a consultation on its proposals.

Amateur gardeners still use 69% of the peat sold in the UK, mainly through multi-purpose compost.

If you are already a keen home composter, now’s the time to pass on your knowledge and expertise to your friends, family and neighbours.

One third of the contents of an average UK household bin can be composted. It’s easy for anyone with an outside space to start. There is a huge range of garden waste that can be used in a compost bin.

Many local authorities, including Wealden, collect garden waste which would have previously been sent to landfill sites. It is recycled commercially for use in peat-free products. In Wealden over 14,000 tonnes of garden waste was diverted from landfill last year to be composted by KPS Composting at Isfield. The compost is available for residents to purchase at the following locations:

Ashdown Forest Garden Centre, Duddleswell; Boathouse Organic Farmshop, Uckfield Rd, Clayhill;

Orchard Nursery, Holtye Rd, East Grinstead; Pet and Garden, Bridge Rd, Haywards Heath; Staverton Nursery and Farm Shop, Eastbourne Rd (A22), Halland and Stone Cross Nurseries, Dittons Road, Stone Cross.

If you need a large amount of compost contact KPS direct on 01444 831010 for details of bulk deliveries.

The UK has 15 per cent of Europe’s peat resource and our peat bogs store carbon equivalent to about 20 years’ worth of national industrial emissions. Through commercial extraction for compost, intensive agriculture and drainage these peat bogs are being degraded and release carbon into the atmosphere.