Free Compost Bins for Cape Town Residents

Have you heard about the fantastic initiative from the City of Cape Town that offers free compost bins to local residents? The City is  giving away compost bins in a move that is aimed at reducing organic waste. About 5000 bins will be given to home-owners as well as residential tenants, at no cost at all. All you need to do is put in an application to the City of CT, and a bin will be delivered to your premises. It really is that simple!

Free Compost Bins in Cape Town

Why is this such big news, though, and better yet, why should we be sitting up and taking note of green strategies such as composting? These questions will be answered in a moment… first, let’s take a look at how you can claim your free composting bin in Cape Town.

How to Claim Your Free Compost Bin in Cape Town

You will need to be a home-owner to apply, but, if you are a rental tenant, you can request your landlord to complete an application. Here’s how to claim your free composting container from the City of Cape Town:

1. Click here to access home composting application forms in your chosen language
2. Email [email protected] or call 0860 103 089 for details
3. Receive bin and start composting!

Why Start Composting at Home?

In today’s heavily populated world, landfills have never been under as much pressure. Recycling is slowly catching on, but waste is still excessive. So many things are thrown into landfills – including things that can be recycled. Organic matter accounts for a substantial percentage of a typical load of rubbish. While some organic matter is not suitable for compost, a lot of it is. Fruit and vegetable waste, spoiled uncooked food, tea bags, egg shells and many other day to day organic matter is thrown in with inorganic matter, when it can be put to good use instead. This is where composting comes in…

Compost is made of pure organic matter. Leaves, garden refuse, fruit and vegetables and even used tea bags are all collected in specially designed bins that use water, air, condensation and natural heat to create nutrient-rich compost. This compost can be used in the garden instead of chemically enhanced store-bought compost. Some benefits of home composting include the following:

* Reduced burden on landfills. All of your garden refuse and so-called ‘wet waste’ can be composted instead of added to landfills, which in turn reduces the burden on our already overloaded dump sites. Used alongside home recycling, this means that you can greatly reduce the amount of waste generated by your household.

* Free soil additive and fertiliser. You won’t have to buy fertiliser or other plant food if you are making your own compost, which is rich in essential nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Organic, home-made compost is free of chemicals and additives, making it excellent for veggie gardens as well as flowers and other plants.

* Lowered water bills in garden. When compost is used as soil mulch, it reduces the need for watering. Adding compost at key times of the year protects soil from drying out, helping to retain moisture underneath top layers. This cuts down on your water bill and keeps you garden in tip top shape. With water restrictions still lingering, this is good news.

What Goes in the Compost Bin?

Composting materials are divided into the following categories:

* Browns – dead leaves, branches and twigs.
* Greens – grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps, tea bags and coffee grounds.
* Water – the right amount of water, greens, and browns ensures perfect compost.

Things you should never put into your compost container include pet waste (including cat litter) meat, chicken or fish scraps, spoiled cooked food (or any freshly cooked food either), non-organic matter and chemicals. Lemons and oranges are too acidic for compost, so should also be avoided. Other things to avoid: tissues, paper towel, nappies, dairy items, charcoal, charcoal ash, fats, lard or oils, diseased or insect ridden plants and garden trimmings that have been subjected to pesticides.

To get started once you receive your bin, start by making a layer of dried leaves, grass and sticks, along with vegetable and fruit matter. Try to keep pieces fairly small to allow for easier break down of material. Add a bit of water as items are added so that the mixture can begin to ferment naturally. Bins should be placed somewhere shady, away from direct sunlight. When the material towards the bottom of the bin is dark and moist, it is ready to be used in your garden. It can take anywhere from two months to two years, so remember to be patient. It is worth the effort though – you will eventually have pure, healthy compost that helps your garden as well as the environment.

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Visit the official home composting page on the City of Cape Town website for more information on claiming your free compost container in Cape Town!  

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