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Garden waste

Home composting

Almost a third of household rubbish can be composted. Composting turns organic waste such as green garden rubbish - grass and leaves - and uncooked kitchen rubbish - fruit scraps and vegetable peelings - into an excellent soil conditioner.

You can compost at home using a bin or heap or commercially at a composting facility. Householders can buy a composter and get advice on the do's and don'ts from most garden centres.

Living organisms are responsible for the composting process. Micro-organisms such as bacteria, fungi and algae feed on the softer, more succulent ingredients. Their numbers increase rapidly and so the rate of decomposition speeds up. By the end of the process, most of the original material has been broken down and mixed together. The result is a rich, healthy fertiliser for the garden - and it's free!

For more information call the Refuse Collection, Grounds Maintenance and Street Cleansing helpline.

You can compost:

  • most garden waste including grass cuttings, hedge clippings, weeds, old plants, branches, twigs and leaves
  • fruit and vegetable peelings and leftovers
  • tea bags
  • coffee grounds
  • cut flowers
  • straw and hay
  • crushed egg shells
  • newspapers

You can't compost:

  • cooked food
  • raw meat or fish
  • nappies
  • cat or dog faeces
  • glass
  • plastic
  • coal and ash
  • metal
  • diseased plants
  • garden waste that has recently been treated with weed killer

Compost bins can be purchased at local DIY stores, garden centres and online retailers. For more information please see the Zero Waste Scotland website.

Related content

  1. Compostable garden waste
  2. Home composting
  3. Burning garden waste