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A beginner’s guide to composting

Composting, how do you define it? Most consider it throwing a teabag into a compost bin on top of the week’s grass cuttings and combining that with an assortment of twigs and brown leaves. All this is entirely true; however it’s only when you delve deeper into the composting process that the complexities of transforming household waste into heaps of nutritiously rich compost come to light.

The vast spectrum of consumables and waste which you can compost surprises most people. For instance, no one in their right mind would ever compost flexible food packaging, or would they?

Step 1 – First things first, set up your bin or pile.

Whether you choose a conventional pile or a more advanced compost bin, it needs to be set up to promote the optimum decomposition of organic matter. A typical place would be at the bottom of a garden underneath a tree where the atmosphere is rich in moisture.

Step 2 – Compile your kitchen and garden waste.

Make sure to insert the essential composting ingredients like hedge trimmings, coffee filters and vegetable scraps to form the foundation of your heap. Here are a few that you might not have considered:

•    Stale beer or wine

•    Hair from your hairbrush

•    Shredded junk mail

•    Latex balloons

•    Food packaging

Nearly everything from postal spam to a stale TV dinner can be composted, including some flexible packaging. This is thanks to Parkside’s innovative ‘Park 2 Nature’ packaging line, which has been developed specifically with the planet in mind.

‘Park 2 Nature’ products do away with microplastic pollution and do not scar the environment through the release of harmful toxins. Seven years’ research and development has enabled Parkside to fabricate an industry first; a range of home compostable multi-layer and film barrier laminates, formed through the use of plant fibres. Therefore reducing reliance on petrochemicals and environmentally harmful methods of disposal, like incineration and landfill.

So does this innovation take away from the aesthetics and usability of a flexible product? Not at all. All ‘Park 2 Nature’ products are available with ultra-high definition graphics and possess an extended shelf life when compared with more environmentally abusive alternatives. With ‘Park 2 Nature’ being fully accredited for home composting, you have no excuse to steer clear of biodegradable packaging.

But watch out! There are two forms of compostable flexible packaging on the market today. Unless your pack specifically says its suitable for home composting then take care. Some forms of compostable flexible packaging are only available for industrial composting (anaerobic digesting) situations where elevated temperatures and pressure are required to compost the material. With Parkside, you can be sure that your pack is safe to pop into your garden pile.

Step 3 – Wait.

Can you get any more hassle free? No fussing about dowsing the pile with harsh chemicals or stressing over the bin’s optimum temperature. Just give it some time. This period may be as little as a couple of weeks or as long as a few years, dependent on temperature, weather conditions, the size of the pile and the method you’ve chosen alongside other variables. Bins tend to be the modern-day method of choice. The average gardener’s heap takes only around 4 weeks to compost. The longer the wait, the longer the flexible packaging will have to break down amongst the other composting components.

Fancy a boost?

Oxygen is the key to rich and nutritious compost – bacteria thrive off it. Oxidizing your heap is a great way to promote decomposition, particularly within larger heaps. The Aerobic method, which involves turning your pile every couple of weeks to encourage oxidisation of compostable matter throughout the heap, is regarded as the most effective form of oxidisation.

Step 4 – Use your homemade organic compost to fertilise your garden.

Now that your flexible packaging and apple cores have broken down, spread the nutrient-rich compost about your garden. Compost aids in the maintenance of your soil and is proven to be an excellent soil conditioner. Compost works particularly well on potted plants and is by many a favoured alternative to soil for coaxing cuttings and small plants towards a more sturdy future.

So, how can you start your own heap? Parkside is proud to be an influencer within the flexible packaging industry and strives to push such innovations further into the public spotlight. As a consumer, we urge you to keep your eyes peeled for compostable packaging and other items mentioned in this blog and unite with us to combat the threats that excess waste presents to the natural world.