Green gardeners given food for thought
National Compost Awareness Week is here (3 - 9 May), and is all about learning how to make a difference with compost, either by composting household kitchen and garden waste or making the 'greener choice' of peat-free composts containing recycled materials.
This year the theme for the week is 'Food for Thought' and Oxfordshire Waste Partnership (OWP) and the Recycle Now campaign are inviting people to put their compost to good use by using it as a soil improver when growing their own fruit and vegetables: a great way to be green and save money!
Cllr John Tanner, is chair of OWP and grows his own produce on his allotment. He says: "Compost Awareness Week is a great time to start being a greener gardener and to use compost when growing your own fruit and vegetables. With homegrown produce, we can all save a bit of cash and eat nutritious fresh food. The key is to chose something easy to start with like tomatoes or herbs, and even if you only have a windowsill, you can still have a go."
Households in England throw away around 4 million tonnes of waste every year that could have been composted. When this waste is sent to landfill it breaks down and produces methane, a powerful global warming gas. Composting not only stops this waste going to landfill, it also produces a free fertiliser and soil improver which can be used on flower beds, plots, and window boxes.
A wide range of materials can be composted at home from vegetable peelings to eggs shells. The key to good compost is getting a healthy balance of materials: roughly 50 per cent nitrogen-rich matter which is found in food waste and grass, and 50 per cent carbon-rich matter found in woody substances like straw, prunings and scrunched or shredded paper.
In partnership with Recycle Now, OWP is currently promoting a reduced price home compost bin offer, where Oxfordshire residents can buy bins from £27 each, including delivery. Ens of thousands of households across the county have already seen the benefits that home composting can bring, with over 47,000 bins sold through the county.
Waste reduction officer at Oxfordshire County Council Eiles Robinson, says "It's a fantastic achievement to have sold 47,000 bins. Home composting is an easy way to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfill and it's great that so many households are doing their bit to help through our partnership with Recycle Now. If you don't already have a compost bin, why not go to www.recyclenow.com/compost or call 0845 076 0223 for details of the discounted bins."
In addition to promoting home composting, Compost Awareness Week serves to highlight the benefits of peat-free compost. Peat based composts contribute to the destruction of peat bogs, a natural habitat to thousands of species. Wildlife including dragonflies and birds depend on peat for their survival. However, peat-free compost is a totally natural and eco-friendly product which contains ingredients such as recycled garden materials, coir and wood fibre. Peat-free compost made from recycled materials helps to keep organic waste out of landfill, which is good news for the environment and gets great results for the garden.
More information is available by visiting www.recyclenow.com/garden and downloading the 'Buying Guide', which provides useful hits and tips on where to purchase compost that's good for the environment.
Compost Awareness Week compost giveaways
Cherwell District Council will be giving away compost to residents. The compost is made from Cherwell's free garden waste collection. Staff will also be at hand to give recycling advice and information:
- Saturday 2 May, 9am - 12pm, Exeter Hall, Oxford Road, Kidlington
- Saturday 9 May, 9am - 12pm, Cooper School, Churchill Road, Bicester
- Sunday 10 May, 9am - 12pm, Bodicote House, White Post Road, Bodicote.
South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) will be giving away peat-free compost to their residents on Saturday 9 May, 10am-2pm, SODC Offices, Benson Lane, Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford.
Oxford City Council will also be giving away peat-free compost on Saturday 9 May at Florence Park, Rymers Lane entrance, between 9am and 12pm.