Composting bins and worm farms
Reasons to compost
You can put items like vegetable scraps, leaves and garden prunings in a compost bin. When these decompose, compost is created producing free fertiliser for your garden and pot plants.
Composting is good for the environment because less food and garden waste is disposed of in landfill, which means less greenhouse gases are created.
Buy a compost bin
Moreland residents can purchase a compost bin or worm farm through the Compost Community program. The program offers a wide range of compost bins and worm farms at wholesale prices with free delivery to your door.
Simply to go the Compost Community website and 'join' to create a user account. Then go to the 'order' tab and click on 'Moreland' to see the wide range of products on offer. Prices range from $36 to $143 for a compost bin and from $49 to $140 for a worm farm, depending on the size and model you choose.
By joining Compost Community you also get advice on which product will best suit your needs as well as ongoing support to get the best results from your compost bin or worm farm.
If you do not have internet access please contact Council.
Your compost bin will be delivered within 2 weeks of receiving payment.
How to use a compost bin
Setting up your compost bin
Place your compost bin in a well-drained and sunny spot in your garden.
Before you put your first food scraps or newspaper into the compost bin, put in a layer of twigs or bush cuttings and lime, soil and manure.
Looking after your compost bin
A compost bin must have a balance of 'green' (food scraps, garden cuttings and leaves) and 'brown' (dry materials like newspaper, straw, sawdust and dolomite). To achieve a healthy balance (of at least 50:50), cover food scraps with a layer of sawdust or torn up paper or cardboard every time you add nitrogen to your compost bin.
You can compost the following items:
- most fruit and vegetable peelings and scraps
- egg shells (crushed)
- tea bags
- coffee grounds
- paper and cardboard (shredded)
Do not add the following items to your compost bin or worm farm:
- meat, fish and bones
- diary products
- diseased plants
- glossy magazines
- plastic of any kind
- pet droppings
- citrus and pineapple
- onion, garlic and spicy food
- bread, pasta and other processed foods
Turn your compost every 3 to 5 days to add oxygen and make sure that it is as moist as a wet sponge. If not, add water.
You can also add worms.
If you stick to the list of things you can compost, aerate regulary and ensure there is enough dry/carbon material you should have a healthy compost system. Adding anything from the 'do not add' list may contribute to odour, rotting food and pests.
Problems with your compost bin
- Smelly compost is caused by too much moisture and not enough air. To fix, add more dry material like straw, newspaper or dry leaves and turn the heap more often.
- Rats and mice in your compost happen when you add the wrong food like bread and cakes or too much fresh material. To fix, cover fresh food with a layer of soil or compost and avoid adding food like bread and cakes.
- Slow compost is caused by not enough nutrients, air and moisture. To fix, add more food scraps, turn the compost more often, add water and add a shovel full of soil and manure.
- Ants in your compost are caused by dry compost. To fix, add more water and food scraps and turn the compost more often.
- White worms are about 1 cm long and can be mistaken for baby worms. They are caused when compost is too acidic. To fix, remove any acidic material such as oranges, lemons or onions and add a handful of lime or wood ash and mix well.
Worm farms or Bokashi Buckets
A worm farm is a good alternative to a compost bin for people with less space or no garden. You can keep a worm farm in a small outside area that is undercover, such as a carpark, garage or verandah. The Easy Worm Farming guide gives instructions on how to start and maintain a worm farm.
A Bokashi Bucket is an anaerobic system that uses an inoculated grain product to ferment food waste. Bokashi is made from sawdust, bran and micro-organisms. It normally takes around 1 to 2 months to fill the bucket with food waste, depending on how many vegetables you eat. Once the bucket is full you can bury the food waste in soil or add to a compost heap so that it can continue to break down.
You can buy a worm farm or Bokashi Bucket from Compost Community.
If you don't have space for a compost bin or are unable to compost at home, there are other ways you can compost your food waste.
Share your compost bin with your neighbours through Sharewaste who bring together hosts (who receive organic waste) with donors (who donate their organic waste) to process kitchen scraps into new soil.
Community composting hubs assist people who are unable to compost their food waste at home. Find out more about community composting hubs in Merri-bek and how to register.