Get winter composting!

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At this time of the year when the weather turns colder, especially with all the sub-zero snowy weather we have been having, the compost process slows down and we tend to neglect our compost bins.

Many items we throw away such as organic materials, form methane which is a powerful climate change gas. So anything we can do to reduce this waste reduces our carbon footprint.

There are lots of small steps that you can take to keep the composting process going over the winter.

Keep feeding your bin, even if it is covered in snow; using a kitchen caddy will cut down your trips outside to the compost bin, and having the compost bin accessible near the house or back door will ensure you keep using it over the winter months.

Chris Hunt, a project coordinator with Aberdeen Forward, says “For the inevitable chilly winter weather, ensure you keep the lid on your compost bin, this helps keep the snow out and the warmth in – just like us the mini beasts inside like to be warm!

“Giving your compost a ‘turn’ regularly will give it some air, which helps the rotting process and for really cold weather covering the compost bin in old carpet or other thermal materials can help the decomposing over the winter months.”

Chris adds: “Don’t forget to compost over the Christmas season too; keep putting potato, carrot and sprout peelings in your compost bin over the festive period, along with orange and Satsuma skins. Even used wrapping paper, needles that have dropped from your Christmas tree, paper napkins and torn up cardboard inner tubes from crackers can be composted. There is so much extra organic waste generated at Christmas which can be put to good use in the compost bin.

Since 2004 the Scottish Government has been running a subsidised compost bin scheme via Zero Waste Scotland and recently celebrated achieving 250,000 compost bins distributed in Scotland since the campaign started. The programme, which has been a great success, offers compost bins from as little as £8 delivered free to your door along with a free kitchen caddy and handy hints leaflet. To focus on other initiatives the subsidised scheme will come to an end on 31 March 2011. If you have been thinking of purchasing a bin, but haven’t got around to it, time is running out as bin sales can only be guaranteed while stocks lasts, with some stocks already sold out or running low.

To order your reduced price compost bin please visit www.wasteawarescotland.org.uk for more information.