Your compost needs a 50/50 balance of food scraps and garden scraps. For every bucket of food scraps you'll need to add one bucket of garden scraps. You can also add in other compostable items such as paper towel, used paper/bamboo/bagasse food containers, pizza boxes and home compostable packaging.

Technically anything organic (once living) can be composted, but in a small backyard compost bin it's best to be careful and follow these guidelines.

Food scraps

All food and drink scraps, including chilli, garlic, citrus, grains, dairy and tiny amounts of meat. Food scraps are wet and high in nitrogen encouraging compost to break down. Substitutes include: manure, fresh grass clippings and seaweed.

Avoid adding more than 100g of meat, tofu, dairy, eggs or oils as well as more than 500g of carbohydrates or citrus at one time.

Garden scraps

All grass and plant clippings, leaves, mulch and woodchips. Garden scraps are dry and high in carbon so they’ll stop your compost smelling. Substitutes include: shredded paper and cardboard, coffee and grain husks, paper towel, used paper/bamboo/bagasse food containers, pizza boxes and home compostable packaging. 

Avoid adding gum leaves or pine needles, wood, inks or vacuum dust with unwanted chemicals, dog or cat poo.

Can’t find what you are looking for? There is a great list of other do’s and don’ts at Sustainable Gardening Australia.

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