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.|
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.