Composting is a free and simple process that you can do with or without a backyard. Garden waste and fruit and vegetable scraps can be composted at home to improve your garden's health.
Compost is the soil-like material that is created when plant and vegetable matter breaks down. It can be used as a potting mix, soil enhancer or as mulch.
This table includes matter that may be composted.
|Nitrogen products (greens)||
|Carbon products (browns)||
Do not add the following ingredients to compost:
- dairy products
- manure from carnivores (e.g. cats and dogs)
- meat scraps
- plants that are diseased or have been sprayed with pesticides
- treated timber
- vegetable fats and oils.
There are a few different composting methods you can use. The best one for you depends on:
- the size of your garden
- the amount of kitchen and garden waste your household produces, and
- how much time and money you want to spend.
Garden waste only
Pile lawn clippings and prunings in a heap, alternating carbon and nitrogen-rich materials (see table above). To speed up breakdown of compost, turn regularly.
|Garden waste and food scraps||
|Garden waste and food scraps||Aerobic (oxygen required) composting system that requires regular turning of the compost bin.|
|Garden waste and food scraps||Suitable for small spaces (e.g. balcony or garage).|
Bokashi or fermentation systems
|Food scraps (including meat, dairy, and starchy foods)||
For the initial set up, collect enough compost ingredients to half-fill the compost bin. Include a mix of carbon and nitrogen materials (see compost ingredients table above for guidance).
- Place a five to 10 centimetre layer of small twigs at the bottom of the compost bin for aeration and drainage.
- Add a layer of soil or finished compost to add microorganisms to kick-start the decomposition process. Other activating materials include comfrey leaves, manure, coffee grounds and/or worm juice.
- Add carbon (browns) and nitrogen (greens) materials in alternating five to 10 centimetre layers.
- Sprinkle layers with water to ensure all materials are damp.
- Continue to add kitchen and garden scraps daily or on a regular basis. Ensure there is a mix of carbon (browns) and nitrogen (greens) materials.
- Turn regularly with a fork or compost screw. Ensure materials remain damp and add water if necessary.
You compost is ready when the finished product resembles a rich, dark, soil-like material.
|Compost smells||Not enough carbon-rich material||Add carbon materials and mix through well.|
|Not enough air||
|Slow to break down||Not enough nitrogen-rich ingredients||Add food scraps or fresh grass clippings and mix through well.|
|Not enough air||Turn more regularly.|
|Compost too dry||Add more water until the compost is damp all the way through.|
|Maggots or cockroaches
(Both maggots and cockroaches are beneficial to the breakdown process, so if you can tolerate them, they will help your materials to break down faster.)
|Ingredients such as meat or fats added to bin||
|Mice and rats||Bread or grains in compost||
|Compost is too dry||Add more water until the heap is damp all the way through.|
This video tutorial is 3 minutes and 21 seconds long. It will take you through the process of selecting a compost bin, choosing a location, getting started, maintaining your compost and using your finished product.
Compost rebate program
Council is making purchasing your food waste recycling system easier with our compost rebate program. The program provides eligible Brisbane residents a rebate of up to $70 off the purchase of eligible composting equipment. The program involves an education component to ensure you become a successful composter or worm farmer.