Home composting to avoid Suffolk Coastal’s £43 brown bin charge

Home composting is a cost-effective, environmentally-friendly way to recycle kitchen and garden wast

Home composting is a cost-effective, environmentally-friendly way to recycle kitchen and garden waste. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Thrifty living, with Sheena Grant

The weather was beautifully warm at the weekend, but not warm enough for the beach. So my thoughts turned instead to gardening.

It’s about the only time of year that they do. It has to hit at least 16C before I think of venturing outside voluntarily for any length of time. But on Saturday, it was the only place to be. It was even hot enough for sunscreen.

After mowing the grass I turned my focus to the black plastic compost bin placed behind an apple tree in the most unobtrusive area of the garden. Unfortunately it is also one of the most inaccessible areas. Even taking off the lid risks getting poked in the eye by a vengeful twig.

Hence the compost bin is only lightly used but today I needed to get my hands on whatever was in there. Wearing a hat - and not just for protection from the sun - I ventured into the danger zone and tugged the bin free from its base. It was almost half full of something that looked remarkably like compost. I felt a surge of pride at what I had somehow managed to achieve and set about mulching the borders with this free bounty, which had saved me buying a sack of the commercially-made stuff.

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But the real reason I needed to free the compost bin was to move it to a more readily-accessible area. It’s going to get a lot more use from May 1, when my district council, Suffolk Coastal, introduces a £43 annual charge for its previously ‘free’ brown bin collection. I know many councils already charge an extra fee, beyond the council tax, for this service but I can’t help thinking it’s a retrograde step at a time when more recycling, not less, is needed. I imagine many people will choose not to pay and will be tempted to put compostable kitchen waste at least into their grey, non-recyclable waste bin (the council says any grey bin containing garden waste will be considered to be “contaminated” and will not be emptied). I won’t be doing that, but I won’t paying either - I’ll be composting at home instead, something I’d urge others to do too.

n Reader Lotte Sherman emailed to share a water-saving tip. “When turning on a warm water tap further away from the tank we have a large jug and save the initial cold H2O for flushing the toilet,” she wrote. “It all mounts up over the days and cuts down the yearly water bill, as well as use of precious water.”

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