Newham

Composting

Composting is good for your garden, but it is also good for the environment. Over 30 per cent of the average household bin can be composted – that’s nearly 150kg a year (about the weight of a baby elephant!).
Picture of a gardener shovelling compost from a compost bin

​Composting bins

Newham residents can buy composting bins for as little as £4 each (with free postage). Order online from Get Composting or call 0845 130 6090.
 
We give you money off compost converter bins, which you can buy in two sizes. You can also buy a range of other composting equipment and extras.
 
 

Get composting!

Composting at home is easy, and will give you free, good-quality compost.
 
The main thing to remember is to balance your 'greens' (which have lots of nitrogen) with your 'browns' (which don’t have much nitrogen) to keep your compost healthy.
 

Greens:

  • fruit and vegetable scraps (including citrus peel)
  • tea bags, coffee grounds and filter paper
  • crushed egg shells
  • grass cuttings (not too many)
  • young hedge clippings
  • annual weeds, for example chickweed and speedwell
  • old flowers and nettles
  • manure
  • pond algae.
 

Browns:

  • gerbil, hamster and rabbit bedding
  • egg boxes
  • thin cardboard, paper, ridged cardboard packaging, toilet and kitchen rolls, and newspaper (torn up into small pieces)
  • dry leaves (small quantities)
  • garden cuttings
  • straw
  • woody twigs and hedge cuttings
  • ashes from wood, paper and lumpwood charcoal
  • sawdust and wood chippings
  • wool, cotton thread and tumble dryer lint
  • vacuum bag contents
  • shredded paper.
Do not use cooked food waste, meat, fish, cat litter, dog waste, glossy magazines, roots of perennial weeds (that is those which return year after year), diseased plants, plastic, glass or metal.
 
 

How do I get good-quality compost?

Here are some few tips to help you look after your compost and make sure it is of a good quality.
  • Find the right place: the best place is in the garden on bare soil; if you have to put it onto concrete, tarmac or patio slabs, make sure there's a layer of soil or existing compost at the bottom of the composter, so the worms can spread.
  • Layer it: each time you put a layer of greens in, add an equal layer of browns too.
  • Keep your compost moist: not too wet and not dry, and check before you add a layer; if it's dry, add water; if it's soggy, add some more brown material.
  • Add some air, so it doesn't smell: give your compost a turn with a garden fork every now and then.
  • Sit back and relax: it takes six to nine months for your compost to be ready to use, so be patient.
  • Ready for use: once your compost turns into a dark material which looks like thick, moist soil and gives off an earthy fresh aroma, you'll know it's ready to use!
  • Collect the compost: lift the bin slightly or open the hatch at the bottom and scoop out the fresh compost with a garden fork or spade.
  • Use it: don't worry if it looks a bit lumpy with twigs or bits of eggshell, this is perfectly normal; use it to on garden borders or vegetable patches, in patio containers or to feed the lawn.

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