Composting for beginners: 3 ‘basic’ things compost pile needs to ‘do its job’

According to the latest figures from WRAP, UK households produce over six million tonnes of food waste per year. However, Britons could help to slash this figure while simultaneously helping their garden look its best by starting a compost pile. Speaking to, Simon Mellin from the fresh produce delivery service The Modern Milkman said: “Currently, less than 10 percent of food waste is composted at home – by embracing composting, we’re reducing waste and creating a circular economy, where it goes back into the earth to create something positive.”

Research by the Modern Milkman found that while 70 percent of Britons claimed they “want to do their bit to help the planet”, 62 percent don’t compost.

For those who are new to the world of composting, the task may seem a little daunting.

Mr Mellin said: “If more people understood the benefits of composting, and how it can help the environment, they might be more likely to take it up.”

The Modern Milkman, in partnership with experts from Manchester Met University (MMU), shared some “straight-forward basics” to getting started with your own composting pile.

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An expert from Manchester Metropolitan University’s Circular Economy Network added: “Size and style don’t matter.”

They explained: “While you can go as big and as fancy as you want, the key to home composting is to create a suitable environment for the three amigos of composting: microbes, bacteria, and fungi.”

According to Manchester Metropolitan University’s Circular Economy Network, there is a simple “triad” which compost heaps need to “do their job”.

An expert from MMU told “When composting at home, sufficient heat, airflow and time are needed to allow the microbes, bacteria, and fungi to do their jobs.”

There are some simple methods Britons can apply when making their composting heap to help meet these key needs.

The MMU spokesperson explained: “By positioning your composter or compost heap in a sunny spot, you can increase the temperature within – speeding up the process.

“Also, think about raising the composter or compost heap up off the ground, this will aid drainage and improve airflow.”

Twigs could come in extremely handy when it comes to increased airflow and are a great way to start your composting heap.

The MMU spokesperson told “This will stop your heap from resting directly on the ground, helping to improve drainage and airflow.

“You could also dig a trench across the base of the area to improve drainage.”

Regularly turning your compost will also help with the airflow.

The MMU expert said: “When constructing your heap, do not use all the space you have available.

“By leaving some space, you will have an area to help mix your heap in months to come.”