Recycle Right - get the green bin right

The compost bin versus the green organics bin

Spring's burst of new growth puts pressure on compost bins and heaps as well as the green organics bin provided by your council. But did you know that organics that shouldn’t go in your home compost are fine for your green bin? It’s all about the composting temperature. Microbes generate heat as they breakdown organic matter but if the compost temperature isn’t maintained long enough it won’t kill weed seeds, plant diseases or breakdown some organic materials so these are better in your kerbside green organics bin and sent to a commercial composter where they scientifically monitor the composting process, achieving temperatures well above those you could at home.

So what's a 'NO' for the home compost but a 'YES' for the green organics bin?

  1. Perennial rhizomes (runners) or seeding weeds and diseased plants.
  2. Pet manures. Many councils now accept pet waste including compostable kitty litter (paper and sawdust) in the green bin.
  3. Meat products, bone, seafood, dairy products, sauces, oils and fats.These may be okay in small doses in your compost bin but avoid large amounts that may go rancid over time.
  4. Compostable plates, cups, utensils. Picnicware made from PLA (polylactic acid found in plants) is compostable but your home compost bin may not reach temperatures high enough to break them down, so put these in the green bin.

Many councils accept all types of food scraps in the green bin.

No-nos for both the compost bin and green bin.

  1. Chemically treated and painted or varnished wood.
  2. Inorganic materials including plastic, metal, glass, rocks and bricks.

Composting is a natural organic process; inorganic materials kill the microorganisms that make compost happen and they leave contaminants in the compost.