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Who's Afraid of a Compost Bin?


Today's blog may shock some of you, maybe disappoint or sadden you, but confession is good for the soul so here goes.


One of us - and they shall remain nameless - has not had a compost bin.


Up until now that is.



We won't name the person because we do not judge, and anyway, they already feel very ashamed and do not need  public humiliation.  Plus, this story has a happy ending.

Actually, we will name the person.  Let's call her Jennifer.

Now Jennifer is not stupid and she generally has a very green lifestyle.


What exactly was she afraid of?

  • vermin

  • the smell


She turned to the environmental charity, Hubbub (the charity that runs the community fridge network, amongst other things) for help, and it turns out she is not alone.


Master composter - now there's a job title! - Claire Tolliday says that question she gets asked at every composting session she ever does is - what about rats?


Rats are absolutely not a problem if you put your compost bin in the correct place!


If your compost smells you are doing something wrong!


Claire's top tips for successful composting:

  • the balance between green and brown material is the key.  Green material is food waste and grass clippings and brown materials are paper, cardboard, dead leaves

  • start with a 50/50 mix of greens and browns but be prepared to go up to two thirds green, one third brown if necessary.  If your compost is too dry you have too much brown material, if it is too wet you have too many greens

  • toilet roll tubes and egg boxes are great for creating air pockets to allow oxygen in

  • turn your compost regularly

  • use an old lidded container for your kitchen waste and line it with paper to avoid the contents going slimy before you add them to the compost bin

  • DO NOT put your compost bin at the far corner of the garden where nobody every goes - that is creating the perfect environment for rats to move in.  Put it somewhere that people walk past often - no rat will want to live there*


Finally reassured,  Jennifer bought a compost bin then whipped up an omelette for tea and - pausing only briefly to polish her halo - she popped the egg shells and the egg box, along with an onion skin, into her lovely new bin.


*Claire also recommends hitting your compost bin with a big stick now and then to discourage rats. Jennifer loves to do this as it makes her feel like a real eco-warrior.

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