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Stop The Slime!!

The most common composting mistake is to put too many grass cuttings in the compost bin. Grass contains a lot of water; it heats up quickly and needs a lot of oxygen to rot it down. Large quantities of grass cuttings on their own will create a slimy, smelly mass. The addition of fine woody material or screwed up paper and card mixed throughout the grass ensures that air pockets are incorporated into the mixture. Remember it is much easier to add air to the materials before they go into the bin than to turn the materials, to add air, once they are in the bin!

If you get the balance of GREENS and BROWNS right then you will make perfect compost. Remaining grass cuttings can be used in any of the following ways:

  • As a mulch around your plants, this will suppress weeds and keep your soil moist during the warmer months.
  • If you gathered leaves to make leaf mould in the Autumn you can now mix them with freshly cut grass, this will help speed up the break down of the leaves.
  • Leave the grass on the lawn, this will return nitrogen to your soil.

What kind of paper and card can be composted?
If you already recycle your newspapers, don't compost them. There is so much paper and card that isn't suitable for recycling that at the moment ends up with your rubbish when it could be composted. Things to include are old envelopes (remove the plastic window first), ripped up cereal packets, toilet roll cylinders, cardboard egg boxes and soiled tissues. Avoid frozen food packaging and cartons used to hold liquids as these tend to be lined with a thin film of plastic or foil.

Are the inks safe?
Heavy metals are rarely used in the printing industry anymore so the inks break down harmlessly during the composting process, as do any glues. Glossy paper and card is also suitable. It is the addition of clay that makes paper glossy, though it may take a little longer to breakdown so rip it up in to smaller bits before screwing it up. Try not to put flat sheets of paper in, as this will prevent air from circulating in your heap.

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