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Home composting is a great way to turn your grass cuttings, peelings and toilet roll tubes into wonderful nutritious compost to use on flower beds and vegetable patches. Islington Council collects green waste from street properties but composting at home is more environmentally friendly and cost effective.

Did you know that compost is known as “black gold”? Here are just a few reasons why:

  • It improves the nutrient levels of your soil
  • It improves the soil structure
  • It prevents erosion

How composting works

Composting is a natural process of recycling organic matter, grass cuttings, leaves and food scraps into a fertiliser that can enrich soil and plants. During composting, microorganisms from the soil eat the waste and break it down into small parts. For step-by-step tips about how to set up, produce and use your compost, visit Recycling Now.

The key is to keep the balance of organic matter between green and brown (dry leaves, small twigs, egg/cereal boxes). If your compost is too wet, add more brown matter. If it is too dry add more green. Learn how to get the right balance when making your own compost.


Wormeries are a great way of composting cooked and uncooked food waste. A wormery is your own worm farm in a bin. The worms live and breed happily amongst the food waste converting it into rich dark compost and a liquid plant feed. Islington Council offers a subsidy for the purchase of wormeries from Get Composting. Wormeries are successful when they are set up and maintained correctly.

Start making your own compost

Visit the Get Composting website to find out about the subsidised prices of compost bins for Islington residents. However, you don’t need to buy a bin to start composting – you can make a compost heap or your own compost bin.

When is your compost ready to use?

When it is dark brown and smells earthy and has a crumbly texture it is ready to use. If there are any large twigs and eggshells mixed in simply sift them out and return them to the compost bin.

How to use homemade compost:

  • Enrich borders, spread up to 5cm layer of compost on the top of existing soil but leave gaps around any soft stemmed plants.
  • Mulch using rough compost (that has not completely broken down) over flowerbeds and shrubs, which will replenish nutrients and retain moisture in the soil.
  • For flower beds, dig 10cm of compost into the soil in spring before planting or put a thin layer of compost enriched-soil around the base of your plants.
  • Trees and shrubs benefit from a 5-10 cm layer twice a year but not too close to the trunk. This will help to protect them against drought.
  • Container planting benefits from a mix of one-third compost and two-thirds regular soil (slightly less compost when planting seeds because the compost is too strong to be used on its own).

Community composting

If you don’t have your own garden, there may be a food growing area on your estate. If you want to set up community composting on your estate, contact

If you have garden waste you could consider subscribing to the garden waste recycling in the borough.