Local green thumbs and anyone looking to get the most for their organic waste are in luck as the City of Cape Town pulls through with a composting initiative to provide more compost bins for Cape suburbs residences for free.
The initiative is currently being out over the next few months. The only requirements are that you are a homeowner or tenant of a single residence which includes a secure yard or garden area. All you need to do is visit one of the collection points listed on the City’s website and fill out an application form during the specified dates and times.
The City’s home composting programme aims to encourage us all to decrease our amount of household organic wastes and instead start composting at home. Anaerobic composting simply translates to using organic materials to create luscious nutrient-filled fertilizer for growing plants in the absence of oxygen in layman’s terms.
So to get you started on your journey to green living and anaerobic composting, here are five of the best things inside your home to put into your anaerobic compost bin:
- undressed vegetables and fruits
- grains and rice
- boneless pieces of lean meat and protein.
- even the crumbs you sweep off from the counters and the floor (dust works too)
- try to limiting things like oils, dairy, and dressings if you’re trying to avoid extra microbial activities
Pro tip: While worms act as a vital catalyst in creating lush fertile soil by speeding up the decomposition process, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have perfectly nutritious compost without it. You can mix in old potting soil that probably already has some microbial life in it already. But also bear in mind that once your bin is filled and has some time to sit, it becomes its own ecosystem complete with microscopic bugs, fungi and other beneficial creepy crawlies.
Coffee and Tea
- tea bags
- loose tea leaves
- coffee grounds
- unbleached coffee filters
Pro tip: You can get unlimited used coffee grounds for free from a few willing local coffee shops like vida E caffé? All you have to do is ask and bring a container of your own.
Paper and cardboards and other woody things
- Paper (however, try to avoid coloured paper as it tends to not mix well in the bin)
- Phone books and newspapers (shred or cut into smaller pieces)
- paper bags and egg cartons
- cardboard boxes
- toilet rolls, tissues and roller towel
- Toothpicks and bamboo sticks
- wine corks
Pro tip: Any good compost binrequires a balance between “Browns” and “Greens“. The Browns represent carbon elements – one of the key ingredients – used for composting. Without them, the contents within the bin are in danger of becoming stinky and slimy. All of these paper- or cardboard- based items fall part of this categories. Mix in some dry leaves, sawdust, or pine needles and you’ll have the ultimate Browns combination
Fruit and Vegetable scraps
- fruit and vegetable peels and trimmings
- old or rotten fruits and vegetables
- stale seeds
- old jam and preserves
- If you’re using worms in your compost bins, they’re not big fans of onions or citrus so try to avoid these if you can. But if you’re making a worm-free compost, feel free to add as big of a variety of organic materials as you would like.
Pro tip: Fruit and vegetable scrapes along with coffee and teas fall part of the Greens category. Greens represent Nitrogen, the other key ingredient to any great compost Mix in some fresh grass clippings and your compost bin will be filled with all the most essential nitrogen-rich ingredients for the ultimate fertilizer.
Bread, Eggshells and other organic kitchen essentials
- bread, pitas, tortillas
- melted ice cream
- old cereal
- nuts and nut shells
- grains like old oats and crackers
- old herbs and spices
- dry dog or cat food
Pro tip: Moisture is just as essential to any compost bin as these abovementioned materials so if you see that you’re using a lot of dry elements or that the heap seems a bit dry, simply add some water and watch the magic happen between three months to a year.
WATCH: feed the soil to feed our community, turning waste into compost