Become A Composting Expert (Part 1 of 2)

Wish to compost for the first time but don’t know how?

Or tried it before but could never figure out how to do it right?

Well, you’ve come to the right page.

Here you’ll find everything you need to know about making the perfect compost.

We’ve divided this easy learning journey into two bite-sized parts.

Understanding each part could help you become a mini composting expert!

Once you know how composting works, it becomes easy, fuss-freeintuitive and enjoyable. Just like watching TV. Listening to music. Eating. You get the drift.

Let’s start!


Did you know that…

Teeny weeny living microscopic organisms break down trash by feeding on them?

In order for them to live and do their job, they need 4 essentials — food, air, moisture and warmth — just like you and me.


First up… Food.

The key to making good compost is to use a 50/50 mix of ‘greens’ and ‘browns’.

This means that for every bowlful of ‘greens’ that you add to your compost bin, add the same amount of ‘browns’.


What are ‘browns’?

‘Browns’ soak up and balance moisture in your compost pile.

They prevent your pile from getting too wet.

This is important because an overly wet compost pile will lead to unpleasant smells. (Big no-no.)

Bulky-sized ‘browns’ (such as scrunched up newspapers) also create air spaces in your bin. They help to give microorganisms the necessary oxygen to work.


Some examples of ‘browns’ you can add to your compost bin:

  • Cardboard boxes
  • Cereal / Tissue boxes
    • Remember to remove any plastic lining
  • Non-glossy paper and cards such as greeting cards, business cards etc
  • Coffee filter paper
  • Cotton wool
  • Cardboard egg trays
  • Dried / Brown leaves and twigs
  • Newspapers
  • Paper such as junk mail, office paper, old bank statements, credit card bills
    • Use non-glossy paper as they break down faster; shred and/or scrunch it up before adding to your bin
  • Paper bags
    • Shred and scrunch up before adding
  • Toilet and kitchen paper rolls
    • Due to their structure, they help keep air in your bin
  • Kitchen paper / paper napkins
    • Scrunch up if possible
    • Use unsoiled ones


What about ‘greens’?

‘Greens’ are the complete opposite of ‘browns’.

They contain wet or moist material, and are quick to rot.

They provide important moisture and nitrogen for your compost.


Some examples of ‘greens’ you can use:

  • Coffee grounds
  • Discarded raw fruit and vegetable parts
    • They include rotten fruit and vegetable parts, fruit and vegetable peels, fruit and vegetable pulp, fruit cores, fruit skins etc
  • Egg shells
    • They are rich in calcium and good for adding minerals to your compost; they break down extremely slowly, so remember to rinse and crush them into small pieces before adding
  • Grass cutting
  • House plants, old flowers
    • Tear or cut them into smaller pieces for quicker decomposition
  • Salad leaves
  • Soft green prunings
  • Used tea bags and tea leaves


What about stuff you should not add to your compost bin?

  • Plastics, glass, metals
    • These will not break down at all
  • Aluminum foil
    • This is a metal, hence it will not compost
  • Pet litter / faeces
    • They may carry diseases, smells, and attract pests
  • Bones
    • These attract pests
  • Cigarette ends
    • Not of living origin, so they will not compost
  • Charcoal ashes
    • Harmful to the microorganisms in your compost pile
  • Cling film
    • This is made of plastic, so it will not compost
  • Cooked vegetables / food
    • These attract pests and will give off bad odor when breaking down
  • Dairy products
    • Milk, cheese and other dairy products will attract pests; they are more suited for other composting methods such as “Bokashi Composting”
  • Diseased plants
  • Disposable nappies
    • Even if nappies are biodegradable, they could be a health risk in a compost bin
  • Drink cartons
    • The waterproof lining in drink cartons will not break down
  • Bread
    • Attracts pests
  • Pet litter
    • There are risks of dangerous diseases found in used pet litter which can be passed on to humans; some brands of pet litter say that they can be composted, but for health and safety reasons, this is not recommended
  • Fish
    • Attracts pests
  • Glossy paper
    • Takes a longer time to break down and may harm the beneficial microorganisms in your compost
  • Laminated paper / card
    • The laminated plastic will not compost
  • Meat
    • Attracts pests
  • Oils or fats
  • Perennial weeds or weeds with seed heads
  • Pesticide-treated / poisonous plant material
    • These are harmful to the microorganisms in your compost and may contaminate the compost
  • Pet food
    • Attracts pests
  • Soiled tissues
    • Should be avoided as small-volume composting will not reliably destroy germs and pathogens

You’ve come to the end of Part 1. That wasn’t so hard eh?

Your mind is probably teeming with ideas on wastes around you that’ll be perfect for your compost.

Well, let’s not waste (pun intended) any time, and move right along to Part 2!

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