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Garden waste and composting during COVID-19

Published: 21 April 2020

Composting Garden waste and composting

In his regular feature, Denis the Dustcart talks about Garden waste and composting during COVID-19.

You can follow Denis on his Facebook page to keep up with information about Recycling issues.

Garden waste collections for existing customers in Exeter are continuing as normal until further notice, but we are unable to take on any new customers at this time. We will, of course, review this situation regularly.

Remember that the recycling centres remain closed at the moment, so if you don’t have a garden waste collection and aren’t able to do home composting then you will have to hold on to your garden waste for the time being.

That being said, if you haven’t tried home composting, now might be the perfect time to try. It’s really quite easy to produce a wonderful sweet and crumbly mix – for your garden, from your garden. It’s the very definition of a circular economy.

Exeter residents can order a composter from us for £10.90 with FREE DELIVERY by phoning 01392 265010. They aren’t available for online purchasing currently, so you’ll need to phone us.

These are 220 litre composters. For other options, check out

You’ll need to get the mix right, but that isn’t too difficult. Just make sure you have about a 50/50 mix of ‘greens’ and ‘browns’.

‘Greens’ rot down quickly and release all-important nitrogen and moisture into the heap. These include:

  • Animal manure/straw
  • Weeds
  • Bindweed
  • Fruit and veg peelings/cores/pulp/offcuts
  • Citrus peel
  • Coffee grounds
  • Tea bags
  • Cut flowers
  • Grass cuttings
  • Hedge clippings
  • House plants
  • Ivy
  • Nettles/docks/comfrey
  • Old bedding plants
  • Petals and dead-heads

Browns rot more slowly, providing the heap with carbon and fibre and making air pockets that help keep the system going. These include:

  • Dry leaves
  • Cardboard
  • Hair (handy right now)
  • Corks (not the plastic kind)
  • Cotton wool
  • Vacuum cleaner contents
  • Egg boxes
  • Egg shells
  • Woody and/or thorny prunings
  • Nuts and nut shells
  • Shredded paper
  • Paper bags
  • Straw
  • Corn on the cob (corn eaten)
  • Chunky stalks, like old tomato plants
  • Used kitchen paper
  • Wood ash (not from coal)
  • Wool

Make sure you don’t use your compost bin for these things, though:

  • Animal products: bones/dairy/meat/fish
  • Dog and cat faeces (though your own wee is actually ok)
  • Dog and cat food
  • Cat litter
  • Bread
  • Olive oil
  • Cigarette ends
  • Coal ash / ash from non-natural charcoal
  • Soiled tissues
  • Any plastic/metal/nappies, etc..

Why not have a go creating your own low-cost compost bin or heap, turning your fruit and vegetable peelings and garden waste into garden compost that’s perfect for mulching and conditioning your soil?

Remember: please do not put garden waste into your black or green bins. If our crew sees it, they won’t collect the bin.

Happy gardening

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