Recycle scraps into compost!

Did you know that instead of dumping your shredded paper, it can be used as part of your recycling material?

YES, your shredded paper CAN be used for COMPOSTING!!! So can brown packaging card and newspaper, egg boxes and your toilet roll inner tubes!

After I have used up my scraps or throw-outs in the making of projects, ultimately, you can’t use everything and there will be some cuttings left over.

Here is a super way to re-use shredded paper and brown card, newspaper in a resourceful way and that is to recycle scraps into compost!

This process is called ‘Layering’ there is a but, you also have to include food scraps and garden waste and I will elaborate more. Looking at how compost is made.

You have to break this down into TWO COMPONENTS and that is, Nitrogen and Carbon.

In the Nitrogen grouping you will include all vegetation that’s green garden waste and foods.

In the Carbon group, you will include all that is paper and card stock. Here are some examples.

Nitrogen group.

  • Grass cuttings.
  • Leaves (fresh or dry)
  • Vegetable peel, fruit, (banana, pumpkin, melon)
  • Salads, lettuce, cucumber, celery leafy veg
  • Tea leaf. Ground coffee. (remove tea-bag, could be plastic)

Carbon group.

  • Shredded paper.
  • Brown card, packaging.
  • Newspaper. Egg boxes.
  • Cardboard toilet and kitchen towel inner tubes.
  • Paper scraps.  
  • NO PLASTICS

So this is the kind of thing we should look at that will go into making compost.

Nitrate, or Veggie waste, converts into compost.
Carbon, or shredded paper waste, converts into compost.
Carbon, or brown card, converts into compost.

What you must avoid is adding cooked foods of any kind as when it starts to break down it will rot very quickly and cause unpleasant smells and may attract rodents and flies.

So let’s avoid cooked foods. Stick with raw kind of  foods and garden surplus, grass, leaves as mentioned above.

CONTAINER

Next what you will need to get started is a BIN plastic type, or an AREA in the GARDEN put aside for composting or a TUMBLER, that spins round when you turn a handle to toss and mix the nitrates and carbons together.

PREPARE AND COLLECT

You may not have all your produce to hand, so you will have to start collecting or put aside your veggie and your paper stock.

LAYERING.

So let’s define this to make it easier. Veggie being Nitrates we’ll regard it as Green and Carbon being paper will be the Brown stuff.

HOW THIS WORKS

To start the layering process, begin with some soil, then layer up with shredded paper some brown torn up card, packaging and or cut up toilet rolls.

KEEP MOIST

This should be damp needing to be sprayed with water. Not too soggy, as this will prevent oxygen from infiltrating, hence leading to smelly decomposition.

HOW THIS WORKS

On top you add the veggie Green, anything in your recycling peels, or garden collection, leaves grass, spreading it over the Brown. So you achieve at least 50% of Green and 50% of brown, within the mix.

TIPS

Tear or cut your cardboard packaging so it can be laid easily with a mix of shredded paper or what ever paper source you have saved. Remember newspaper and egg boxes will do,

Dampen or wet your paper Brown stock. Continue this layering or sandwiching process as far as you can go with it. Any mix or combination you like.

If it’s in a large bin remember you will have to get in with a garden tool and turn or toss it about to bring centre to the outside and the outside to the middle.

TIME OUT

This now needs to be left to DECOMPOSE, allow a few days before you start to churn it around.

In a couple of weeks, the centre will start to heat up and microbes will start to break down the compost.

HOW TO GET THE KIDS INVOLVED!

Make sure you have a kitchen Caddy or a friendly container and any foods appropriate for composting can be stored in the container and your kids can be responsible for this.________________

In the garden they can help collect leaves, sweeping up or raking and saving it in a heap, ready to add as a layer._________

When mowing the lawn, they can also transfer the collected grass into the garden collection, if by then you are ready to start layering, your kids can begin by adding the ‘Greens’ and then the ‘Browns’ appropriately.____________________

Giving your kids a responsibility like this is quite gratifying for them, a learning process almost like a science project where they see how mini beasts and earth worms role is, in the making of compost.

Get hold of some magnifying glasses to inspect the compost, when the time is right.

The choice is yours how you make your compost. I will bring it down to 4 methods:-

  • On the ground, section off an area with planks of wood, so it’s like a pit.
  • In a large plastic bin with lid.
  • A composting bin with a door at the base, to open and pull out the compost.
  • A tumbler. ( This looks like a horizontal barrel that rotates when you turn a handle, this tosses the material inside it. (Take note the larger the barrel the heavier the volume, hence more effort is needed to turn the handle.)

Check out Amazon and ebay sites, there you will find a vast range of composting bins and tumblers. 

They range from reusable garden waste bags to wooden, plastic or metal bins. The cost varies, As we are looking at recycling here, maybe start small using what you already have and see how you get on, then invest in a durable long lasting bin.

Which ever method you choose, it will take a few weeks for the waste material to break down into compost.

You are required to toss and turn the composting substance around.

If it dries up you need to add water to moisturise it and make it damp.

If it is too wet you can then add more carbon or paper to draw up the liquid.

Once the compost starts to turn and look almost like soil, it is then ready.

So give yourself a couple of months and be patient.

TO RECAP

You have learnt an easy way to recycle all your throw-outs like shredded paper, odd card and veggie peel, garden waste and more, into home made compost.

Now you can revitalise your existing soil replenishing it to help nourish the growth of your plants and produce and in hand, your kids can actively get involved in the making of it!!!

Don’t you think this is a super idea?

What are you waiting for let’s get cracking!!!

See pics below, I have made a start with composting and I’ll keep you updated how I get on!

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