Composting Bin

Using a composting bin is a simple way of composting organic waste.

1. Get started

Choose a sunny spot for your compost bin directly on the soil so worms can enter. Layer some twigs and small branches on the bottom for air flow.

Getting started - compost.

2. Collect your materials

These are organic materials that are full of nitrogen. They usually rot quickly and can cause bad smells. Examples are food scraps, coffee grinds and fresh green lawn clippings.   

These are organic materials that are full of carbon. They can take a longer time to breakdown.  Examples of are dry leaves, paper and cardboard, dry lawn clippings.  

3. Layer like a lasagne

Begin layering your organic waste in the bin alternating between brown and green materials. Ideally you want about 30% green materials and 70% brown materials (but don’t sweat it too much!)   

4. Feed, water, and cover the pile

Keep feeding the bin/pile in the layers above on a daily/weekly basis or until your bin is full. Moisten each layer as you build the pile, so that the compost pile is moist like a sponge. If it’s due to rain, you may not need to add additional water. Ensure there is air flow around and within the heap. Adding brown materials can help with this. Always cover the top of the compost pile with a layer of brown material, such as leaves or straw, to keep it from drying out, smelling or attracting pests. Place the lid on your bin.

6. Use the compost

After about 6 months your compost will be ready to use. The timing will depend on the outdoor temperatures, how good your ratio of green to browns was, and moisture levels. It should look like a dark soil without too many recognisable items. You can use the bottom third of the compost by taking the bin off and moving it to a new spot. Put the top two thirds back in the bin to compost more.


Turn your compost from time to time but try to avoid mixing the bottom materials with fresh materials at the top. Avoid adding these things to your bin:

  • Weeds that spread easily
  • Pet Waste
  • Cooked foods, oils, fats, bread, and meat. These may attract rats.


Even the most experienced composter can run into problems.  Here are some common issues you may run into and how to fix them:

Smelly compost.

Smelly compost

If your compost smells bad, it may be too wet or does not have enough air. Try turning the top layers of your compost more frequently and adding more dry (brown) materials.

Slow composting.

Slow composting

If your compost s taking too long to break down, it may not have enough nitrogen (green materials) or may not have enough air. Add more green materials and turn the pile more frequently.



If you have pests in your compost, it may be too wet or have too much food waste. Try adding more dry materials and covering your compost with a lid or screen.

Slow composting.

Dry compost

If your compost is too dry, it may not break down properly. Add more water or wet materials to your compost.