- Add dry matter (carbon-rich) to your compost bin, alternating with wet matter (nitrogen-rich) for a varied supply of organic matter. Avoid all prohibited materials.
- Aerate your compost every 10 days to accelerate the decomposition process by adding oxygen. Practice moisture control - healthy compost is as moist as a damp sponge.
- Add to your annual routine the complete turning of your compost in the spring. For dry materials that are available year-round, plan ahead by keeping a reserve of dead leaves in the fall.
With these rules in mind, you're definitely on your way to success!
Compost is ready when it looks and smells like soil. A first layer of compost should be available within 6 to 12 months and can be used to enrich your garden, flower beds, trees, lawn and even indoor plants.
When making your choice, make sure your composter has enough capacity. For example, a two-person household would require a composter with a 300-litre capacity.
For ground composters, make sure the composter is not too high up and has a wide enough base to make it easy enough to aerate your compost. Also make sure there are openings on the sides for sufficient aeration, a lid to prevent excess moisture and no bottom for the introduction of microorganisms. In an agricultural setting, it is also possible to compost in a heap simply by covering it with a tarp.
The preferred location for a compost bin is a semi-shaded area that is easily accessible all year round. Prepare the bottom so the soil is loose and add a layer of dry matter (e.g. dead leaves) for a perfectly drained floor. Then place your compost bin on top and that's it!
Composting is a very effective way to reduce the amount of household waste sent to landfill.
On its own, composting at home can reduce the amount of waste in our garbage cans by 48%. Through estimates using current composting practices, a reduction of 2,400,000 kilograms of waste per year would be possible if all households in the MRC du Haut-Saint-Laurent were to start composting.
This practice reduces the environmental impacts related to the transportation and treatment of waste while also preventing soil contamination and greenhouse gas emissions. Let’s take a landfill site as an example. The rainwater that flows between waste products is loaded with organic and chemical contaminants. The contaminated water must be treated ($) before it is released into the environment. A mixture of gases is released from decomposing organic matter without oxygen, mainly methane, which is 23 times more polluting than carbon dioxide.
Home composting generates savings for you and your municipality by reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill. Also, the provincial government demands an environmental levy for each metric ton of waste sent for disposal.
A final benefit to you: adding compost to your yard improves soil texture, which promotes rainwater drainage, soil aeration and plant growth.
The MRC has produced three Guides (available below) on what you need to know in order to succeed with composting: Choosing the Right Compost Bin; Starting Guide; Reminders.
To go even further, you can consult the guide entitled Le compostage facilité (in French only).