Compost Awareness week from 1 to 7 May 2011

March 30th, 2011 by Richard Lord

The eleventh annual international Compost Awareness Week occurs from 1 to 7 May 2011.  The occasion is organised to raise awareness of the benefits of home and business composting.  For more information please visit the WRAP website.

Household food waste can make excellent compost especially if mixed with green waste from a garden (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

I use a worm composter made of used car tyres.  I got this idea from the vermiculture web page of the East London Community Recycling Partnership. I find it works well.

  • The tyre composter should be located where vermin cannot get in from underneath.  If the composter is going to be located on soil, place a large paving stone on the ground
  • Place several opened-out newspapers on the paving stone.  The newspapers will absorb excess moisture.
  • Place the first tyre on the opened newspapers and the paving stone
  • Push shredded newspaper into the tyre rim until the rim is full.  Pack the newspaper in.
  • Mix kitchen food waste with some green waste (twigs and leaves mainly).
  • Place the mixture in the tyre opening.
  • Add tiger worms to the mixture to accelerate composting
  • Repeat the process to add more tyres on top of each other so more compost can be added.
  • The top tyre should be covered so that rain cannot enter the composting enclosure

tiger worms from England (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

On the advice of the East London Community Recycling Partnership tiger worms were purchased from Worms Direct.  The worms were delivered quickly.  They arrived in a clean plastic tub.  There was no odour associated with them.  They were very active and in good health.  If you don’t wish the expense of purchasing worms you can find suitable worms in compost heaps around Guernsey.

Tigers worms and time turn food and green waste into compost (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

The shredded newspaper is important for the worms.  In time the worms incorporate the decaying shredded newspaper into the compost.  The compost produced has a slight pleasant smell and produces excellent crops.

The tiger worms will increase or decrease in number depending on the quantity of food available.  The only drawback I have found is the time taken to recover the worms at the end of the process so that I can use the worms again for the next batch of food waste and green waste composting.

The food waste and garden waste mixture must not be too wet or the compost will sour, which is why it is so important to place a lid on top of the tyres to prevent rainwater entering.

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