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Waste Free- Home Composting

Home Composting turns your garden and kitchen waste into a useful soil enhancer for your garden and reduces the volume of waste in your household bins.

Compost Heap - Garden Waste
Home composting is a great way to keep your garden clippings and your kitchen food waste out of the bin. You can put in all sorts including garden clippings, flowers, fruit peelings, eggshells, tea bags, coffee grounds, ripped up cardboard, tissues.

Compost bins can be purchased from DIY stores for around £30 or you could always make your own from pallets, an old plastic box or even just set a side a corner to make a compost pile.

Why composting?

Composting is nature's own way of recycling.  Although for many properties in West Lothian food waste is collected along with garden waste in the brown bin, making compost at home has many benefits for your garden and the environment, such as:

  • By converting your kitchen and garden waste into compost you will reduce the amount of material you're putting into your household bin and save some space.

  • The end product contains organic matter which gives similar nutrients to fertilisers due to the natural breakdown of kitchen and garden waste therefore providing plants, soil and turf with an effective natural feed. In addition, it has a unique composition, which allows the soil or turf to hold moisture for longer therefore requiring less water.

  • As a bonus, by producing less landfill waste you will also cut the amount of methane and carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere - significant greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

What Can I Compost at Home?

Grass and hedge cuttings
Compost Heap - Food Waste
Small branches and twigs, leaves and real Christmas trees

Kitchen/Household Waste

Yes Please

No Thanks

Fruit and vegetable peelings/scraps

Tea leaves/bags and coffee grounds                                        

Egg shells and boxes (not plastic packaging)

Wool/wool clothing

Vacuum bag contents

Paper items e.g:

scrunched up cardboard, egg boxes, toilet roll tubes, cereal boxes,

newspaper, shredded paper, tissues, napkins and paper towels

Cooked food

Meat, fish and bones

Dairy products

Coal or coke ash (a small amount of wood ash is okay)

Nappies, glass, plastic or metal


Animal waste and bedding

Liquid food waste e.g. oil, yogurt

Garden Waste

Yes Please

No Thanks

Cut flowers


Garden and house plants

Grass cuttings

Young annual weeds

Shredded twigs

Hedge trimmings

Pond algae & seaweed

Dry leaves

Small twigs

Pine needles & cones

Wood chippings and sawdust

Weeds about to seed

Diseased plants

Large woody items

Plants treated with pesticides

How to Start Composting

The easiest way to start composting is by either finding a small space in your garden to create a compost pile or by purchasing a plastic compost bin. You can get these for about £30 from most DIY stores. For more information about how to start composting and making your own compost bin, please see our factsheets below:

Check out the videos below for some more information on the composting process:

Setting up your compost bin 
Getting the right mix 
Making it happen 
Knowing when your compost is ready 
Putting your compost to good use

Types of Composting

There are various ways to compost depending on the time and space you have available. Below you will find some useful information on the different types of composting:


Vermicomposting means worm composting.  It is a good way to turn kitchen waste and small amounts of garden waste into nutrient-rich compost and concentrated liquid fertiliser. It is not a substitute for conventional composting.  Find out more about about vermicomposting. (opens new window) on the Planet Natural website.


This is a way of providing a covering over ground to protect the roots of plants from heat, cold, or evaporation, prevent soil loss, control weeds and enrich the soil,  Find out more about mulching (opens new window) on the RHS website.

Hot Composting

Hot composting uses the same process as normal/cold composting however by managing the material used in the composter and using a more insulated bin this process generates more microbial action and therefore more heat, encouraging the material to break down faster and create compost quicker than a traditional compost bin. Check out our  Hot Composting Factsheet [139KB] for more information.

Some useful websites for more composting information:

Recycling Centre Compost

Due to a change in the green waste processor, compost will no longer be available to collect at our recycling centres.