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Making your composting dreams a reality

Composting at home can seem like an expensive and lengthy task for many people. In fact, it is a fairly easy way to reduce your environmental impact. This diagram is here to help you find the solution which works best for you.

Open compost heap

The key to these is making sure you alternate wet and dry waste on the heap. Your wet is your green waste (food waste) and your dry waste can include sawdust, twigs, ashes etc. Start with a layer of dry such as twigs and leaves to help with drainage and aeration. You will also need to add some nitrogen to the system, and you can do this by adding manure. You need to keep the pile moist, watering it occasionally and turning it often to help increase the oxygen that breaks down the material. With some time, your wonderful compost will be ready. You can keep adding to the heap indefinitely, just make sure to keep it moist and moving!

Outdoor compost bin


Building an outdoor compost bin is a great option if you can’t afford to buy a compost bin or just want to give making your own a go. You can use a wide variety of material, including chicken wire, wood, plywood, bricks, or concrete blocks, to make your own compost bin. This website has a fantastic DIY tutorial which can easily and quickly be made at home.


If you can afford it, the easiest option for an outdoor compost bin is to buy one. These can be purchased from hardware stores such as Bunnings, Mitre 10, or from your local garden centre. Depending on how big of a bin you are looking to purchase they can be anywhere between $50-$150.


ShareWaste NZ is a free app which aims to help make composting easier for New Zealanders. The app helps those who would like to compost find a neighbour with a composting bin, worm farm or chooks willing to accept their waste. The app is easy to use - just download it from the app store or sign up online; set up an account and use the map to find the closest scrap acceptor near you!


For someone living indoors this is the perfect low effort solution. The bokashi is a small two bin anaerobic system (approx 15 L) which converts all your food waste into compost. This also means meat, fish, and cheese - things you usually can't compost! All you need to do is sprinkle a natural mix of pre-made dry waste and this will help the compost to ferment, which also stops the smell. You can then use the compost you have created in your garden or give it to someone who can make use of it. These systems can be purchased easily online from places such as: -litre-bucket -set-and-1-bag-of-compost-zing/.

Sahmay is studying a Bachelor of Science majoring in Environmental Science at AUT. She is very fond of native plants and spends her spare time hiking and trying to figure out which berries and mushrooms she can consume without dying.

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