Compost in the community
We work in partnership with Brighton & Hove City Council to set up and support community compost schemes where you can take your raw fruit and vegetable waste, tea bags and coffee grounds.
We currently support over 25 schemes, in parks, allotments and community gardens, with over 1000 households taking part.
Compost produced from these schemes has been used in parks, community gardens and food growing projects in local schools.
So if you don't have a suitable outside space to compost at home, becoming a member of a community composting scheme is a practical solution to keep your food waste out of the bin and turn it into a valuable, usable resource.
Join an existing site
Each site is managed by volunteers and its sustainability is dependent on the participation of its members so you will be asked to give the compost a turn with another scheme member roughly once a year.
Don't worry if you haven't composted before, you will get plenty of advice and information and many schemes say this is a great way of connecting with and getting to know neighbours and members of their community.
Compost schemes in Brighton
I want to start a new scheme but I'm not part of a group?
Speak to your friends and neighbours to gauge whether there is any interest in your area. You could put up a poster in your local shop, library or community centre (we can support you with this). Speak to us as we may be able to link you up with a group or people interested in composting.
How does the scheme work?
It is a closed scheme, open only to people from the local community who have signed up and received some basic training in composting. The scheme starts with two boxes; once the first box is full, we lock it and let it do its magic and start filling the second. All residents have contact details for the scheme monitors meaning that any issues can be addressed before they become problematic. All boxes are kept locked and only used by dedicated scheme members
Will it smell?
Compost is essentially broken down food waste so yes there is the potential for smell but with a well-managed scheme, with a good balance of wet and dry contents, smells are kept to a minimum.
Will it attract vermin & flies?
Tiny fruit flies are common in compost bins in the summer, especially if you are adding a lot of fruit and vegetable peelings. This can increase during the hotter months but can be managed by adding dry materials (cardboard) to the boxes which should be done by monitors and scheme members. This is another great way of recycling cardboard! Turning the compost so fruit and vegetables are buried will also help. Many people ask about rats. Rats are attracted to cooked food. For this reason we only accept raw fruit and vegetable waste, tea bags and coffee grounds to the bins. No cooked food, meat, fish or dairy is to be put in.
Do I have to be an expert?
No! We will give you advice and information so you know what you are doing. You will learn more as you go along.
What happens to the compost once it's made and how long does it take?
The average box takes about 9-12 months to produce compost. You are welcome to take some of the compost yourself or share it with other scheme members. If there is spare compost we work with many community gardens that are happy to take it.
Why don't the council collect food waste on Brighton?
The council says: "We do not currently collect food waste directly from households due to the different specialist collection methods needed. Around 1/3 of housing in the city are flats, and we would not be able to run a food waste collection service from them due to the communal nature of their collections.
When designing a sustainable cost-efficient service we need to take into account participation rates, types of property, cost and value for money, to ensure the service is suitable for the city. Our projects team continue to explore options and funding.
Instead we offer subsidised compost bins to all residents to encourage composting at home, including kitchen caddies which allows residents to make use of their own compost and is better for the environment. Visit our composting page for advice on the best option for you and details of discounted composters, food waste digesters and wormeries. Otherwise food waste for the time being needs to be disposed of in general refuse".
I love community composting because all the waste from my organic veg box goes into growing even more stuff. Sometimes when I go to the boxes people ask me what it is, then say 'what a good idea' and 'how can I get involved'. We used some of the compost on the community garden at Brighthelm. I have less waste to put in the refuse bin and I love the idea that food isn't wasted - it's used to grow more.
North Laine CC scheme
As a family of five I'm acutely aware of the amount of waste we generate and look to recycle and reduce where possible. The five of us get through a lot of fruit and veg, cooking from fresh most nights, so it quickly become second nature to put our peelings in the caddy. I was amazed when after a few weeks I noticed our two or three black bags a week were reduced down to one! Soon most of my friends knew this fact too.
Jess – Stoneham Park