skip to main content


Composting is a great way to not only reduce the amount of waste you take to the landfill, but also a way to add extra nutrients to your gardens. Have a read for more tips!

What is Compost?

Quite simply it is a mixture of organic material that is used as fertiliser. Generally, the ingredients used to make compost come from our gardens and kitchens (food scraps) although organic material is anything that was once living.

As the organic material breaks down, it changes and becomes what is known as humus. During the process, soil micro-organisms, worms and insects convert the organics into a soil-like material which can then be used in the garden.

The benefits of Compost

  • It returns organic matter to the soil.
  • It reduces the harmful effects of organic waste in landfill (e.g. water pollution, emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane and bad smells).
  • It reduces the need for chemical fertilisers in your garden.
  • It reduces rubbish collection costs.
  • It reduces the space needed for landfills.

How to get started

Mitre10 has a guide on how to make your own compost with information on what can and can’t go into compost, as well as common problems.

Types of compost bins

Before you choose a compost bin you should consider what you will be putting in it. Larger, open bins are better for people with large amounts of garden waste. Smaller, enclosed bins are more suitable for households with large quantities of food waste as they provide a barrier to rodents.

Make your own compost bin

If you are making your own bin, you can use a wide range of material, including chicken wire, wood, plywood, bricks, concrete blocks, etc.

Stacking bins have the advantage of being moveable and can be extended to cope with large amounts of waste. Black polythene or sacks may be used for lining, warmth and moisture control. Wrap a netting frame around wooden stakes. Line these with newspaper or cardboard to retain heat.

Frequently Asked Questions About Composting

  • What makes my compost smell?

A compost high in nitrogen with no air will become acidic. Add carbon and turn your compost.

  • How do I keep rodents out?

Add grass clippings to increase heat and turn regularly.

  • What can I not put in a compost bin?
  • How long do I have to wait until my compost is ready?

A well maintained compost bin will produce compost in 3-4 months in summer, and up to 6 months in winter. However, times vary depending on the method, bin contents, time of year and regularity of turning.

  • How will compost help my garden?

Compost feeds the soil, helps with water retention and encourages earthworms into your garden.


Central Hawke's Bay District Council - Copyright © 2024 Central Hawke's Bay District Council

Disclaimers and Copyright
While every endeavour has been taken by the Central Hawke's Bay District Council to ensure that the information on this website is accurate and up to date, Central Hawke's Bay District Council shall not be liable for any loss suffered through the use, directly or indirectly, of information on this website. Information contained has been assembled in good faith. Some of the information available in this site is from the New Zealand Public domain and supplied by relevant government agencies. Central Hawke's Bay District Council cannot accept any liability for its accuracy or content. Portions of the information and material on this site, including data, pages, documents, online graphics and images are protected by copyright, unless specifically notified to the contrary. Externally sourced information or material is copyright to the respective provider.

© Central Hawke's Bay District Council - / +64 6 857 8060 /