Environmental issues, recycling and cutting down on single-use plastic has become a hot topic over the past decade and we are now more aware of the many ways we can help save our planet.
Composting is just one of the ways we can do our bit and with some councils now charging residents extra for the collection of garden waste, it might just benefit your pocket too.
This week is International Compost Awareness week (May 5 to 11). It acknowledges the role that composting organic waste plays in reducing our carbon footprint and combating climate change.
By composting garden waste and non-meat food waste at home, carbon captured from the atmosphere by plants can be returned to the soil. Using this compost adds nutrients and helps to improve the overall structure of the soil and can provide resistance to drought and disease.
That is why the theme of the 2019 International Compost Awareness Week is Cool the Climate - Compost! recognising the connection between soil health and climate.
Charging for the collection of garden waster has become more commonplace. However, there is a cheaper more environmentally-friendly way to dispose of your grass cuttings and you can include some food waste from the kitchen too – minimising what you throw in your general waste and cutting down on the greenhouse gases produced by the decomposition of organic matter in landfill sites.
An East Sussex County Council spokesman said, “We need residents to help us by recycling and composting as much of their waste as they can. This means we will have less of the costly black bag waste to deal with and less to landfill.
“Composting food waste at home helps the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions which result from transporting waste and the breakdown of organic waste in landfill sites. It also creates a free, nutrient-rich fertiliser which is a great food for your garden.
“It has been estimated that a home composting bin can transform up to 150 kg of organic waste per year into compost.
“Great value compost bins, wormeries, kitchen composters and water butts are available to anyone living in East Sussex and composting is an inexpensive, natural and simple process, with benefits for residents and for the planet.”
The majority of homes in the rural Wealden area have gardens and Cllr Roy Galley, who has responsibility for waste management in the area, is keen to get as many people as possible composting.
He said, “It makes good sense to recycle the organic waste you produce at home for the benefit of your home.
“As well as improving your garden, it helps cut back on vehicle emissions as there is no need to take garden waste to a Household Waste Recycling site or have your garden waste collected by recycling crews.”
Although the benefits are seen in your own garden, if you start composting you’ll be part of an international movement that began in Canada in 1995 aiming to raise global awareness of the benefits of recycling organics.
You may be surprised at how much organic waste you create at home which can be composted. This includes fruit and vegetable peelings, garden waste, cut grass, coffee grounds, tea leaves, eggshells, hair, wood, cardboard, paper and vegetarian pet bedding.
To encourage residents to get composting, Wealden District Council has some offers in partnership with East Sussex County Council.
Special value compost converters and food waste digesters are available from as little as £18.50.
For full details on these offers or to order, visit www.escc.getcomposting.com or call Straight Plc 0844 5714444.
Wealden does provide a garden waste collection service. Garden waste is taken to Veolia’s Woodlands In-Vessel Composting Facility in Whitesmith, near East Hoathly, to be turned into soil conditioner. The large scale site enables faster composting by utilising higher temperatures than can be achieved at home. The compost is used to create soil enhancer which can be purchased from Household Waste Recycling Sites across East Sussex or is available in bulk from www.pro-grow.com.
For further information on recycling, including tips on composting and how to reduce the amount of waste you produce, visit www.wealden.gov.uk.