Composting Events and news

20. Jan, 2018

Most composters will never see a rat  in their bin but  the fear of rats, and other  pests,  is the  third most common obstacle to home composting. There has been some discussion of the topic on Facebook little has been written giving an overall approach to the problem. There is now a page on  www.carryoncomposting giving information on positioning the bin to reduce the likelihood of infestation, the signs of infestation, bin contents that attract rats, the effects of human intervention, bin design and measures to be taken if rats are found in the bin as well as making the garden less rat friendly

17. Jan, 2018

Composters have been able to deal with dog poo at home using a dog poo wormery but when out it has normally been a case of “bag it and bin it”. The waste then being sent to landfill or treated as clinical waste.

There may soon be an alternative using anaerobic digestion. as a pilot project by Brian Harper in the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is showing how dog poo can be used to power street lighting in the area where it is bagged.  The bags of dog poo are deposited in a small anaerobic digester attached to the lamp post, a handle is turned to stir and heat the material. Microorganisms break down the stool to produce methane. A containment box collects and stores the methane until dusk, whereupon a timer releases the gas to light up the lamp. to assist bacterial decomposition. It is estimated that the methane produced from ten bags of faeces can light the lamp for about two hours.

A similar system called the “Park Spark" has been installed in a park in Cambridge, Massachusetts since 2010, In this larger device by Matthew Mazzotta, a conceptual artist, the methane powers an “eternal flame” lamp post it that that sufficient people will provide dog poo in biodegradable bags to provide power for other uses.



4. Jan, 2018

Traditional hot composting is a batch composting system where the material is added to completely  fill the bin as a single event rather than adding material in small amounts as it becomes available. Hot composting has the advantage of being quick (21 days using some systems) but it does reuire considerably more work. It will also require sufficient material to be collect before starting to compost so that the bin can be filled in one go. A section has been added to www,carryoncomposting suggesting storage methods for the material being collected and awaiting composting.

Details at

27. Dec, 2017

II will be giving Talks on Composting for the following Clubs and Societies early in 2018: 

  • Welford Gardening Club, Welford Village Hall,  Northamptonshire   10th January
  • West Hallum Amateur Gardening Society, West Hallum Methodist Church Derbyshire, 19th February
  • Glenfield U3A,  Leicestershire (including composting with worms and liquid feeds) 7th March
  • Hilton Gardening Club, Hilton Village Hall, Derbyshire  12th March

In addition to talks on a wide range of composting talks I can bring the Carry on Composting display promoting composting to indoor and ourdoor events in the east midlands.

Sessions on Compost Creatures, and  making Rotbots are offered to schools etc.

22. Dec, 2017

It is not to late to prepare to compost as much as possible of your Christmas waste.

Junk mail

Christmas usually results in a mass of festive magazine, advertising sheets and newspaper supplements. Most can be composted but the amount involved means that recycling will often be the best option using the council system available in your district

Cardboard packaging

Cardboard packaging is a good source of “Browns” when torn up or shredded in the compost bin and can be easily stored of use though-out the year. The corrugations in corrugated cardboard form channels containing air which assists aerobic decomposition and will compost relatively quickly if shredded or torn into small pieces.  Cardboard tags can be composted or recycled but any tags which contain foil or glitter cannot be recycled. Polystyrene used for packaging cannot be recycled and must go in your household bin

Wrapping paper

Where possible wrapping paper should be saved for future use. Normal wrapping paper can be composted but it is often laminated with plastic, foil or other non-paper materials which will not compost and are normally sent to landfill.  Sticky tape will not compost but the paper element will, and the remains of the tape can be removed when the compost is harvested.


Paper based crackers and their cardboard tubes can be torn up and composted as can most party paper hats.

Christmas trees

Real trees can be shredded and composted using an electric shredder, available from DIY and good Garden Centres. Some Councils offer their residents the chance to have their trees shred at designated sites and may even give a free bag of wood chip as a reward.

If the Council has a green bin system to collect garden waste the tree can be chopped up and put it into the bin for collection. Trees may also be taken to a Council collection point


Christmas wreaths made from natural materials such as holly. Ivy or fir can be composted (woody parts are best shredded first). Alternatively, the greenery can be put in the garden waste bin. If there is no garden waste collection it can be taken to the recycling plant. Any “glitter” should be removed first.

Hanging decorations and paper chains

Paper chains including those dyed in bright colours can be composted. However, “Glitter” is not recyclable. If put in the “paper” recycling bin it will end up contaminating the finished product and the load will be rejected. Glass baubles are not compostable or recyclable. At present most, plastic baubles are not currently recyclable in the UK

Christmas cards

Plain Christmas cards can be composted or recycled as card. Any glitter covered cards, and those over-printed in foil or a 3D image, cannot be recycled. The card element will compost and if any foil remains it can be removed from the compost when it is harvested. Otherwise glitter and foil cards should be disposed of through your household bin. Glitter in the recycling bin will contaminate the entire lorry load of recyclables. Anything containing glitter should normally be put in your household waste bin. 

Gift tags

Cardboard tags can be recycled, but any tags which are foil or contain glitter should be put in your household waste bin. 

Food waste

Uncooked kitchen waste can be composted as can cooked food waste if a food composter or Bokashi system is used. Otherwise food waste should go in the Council food waste collection bin (where food waste is collected) or in the landfill household waste bin.   It is best to “Love Food and Hate Waste” exercising control when buying food, and portion control when serving it and to cook leftovers rather than thro money into the bin.