Starting a new community composting scheme

If you would like to start a community compost site at a nearby community centre, in a park, on a grass verge or disused green space near you, then please read through the steps below to understand the process. If you want to proceed, get in touch using the enquiry form at the bottom of this page.

Though sometimes the steps below don’t happen in this order, they all need to be completed before the bins are installed. Please be aware that the process of setting up a new scheme can take several months and requires volunteers to be proactive, organised and passionate about composting. If you are unsure about doing this on your own, we may be able to link you up with another community member who can help.

1. Find a suitable site
Is there a patch of earth near you that could be home to a couple of compost boxes? It needs to be flat, away from people’s homes, offices and open windows; in a well-lit and easily accessible area, and preferably on grass. Though some schemes may be smaller they work best if they have the following space:

compost bin diagram

2. Initial enquiries
Once we have received your enquiry form, we will have a chat with you to discuss viability. We then liaise with the Council, find out who owns the land and seek their permission. This can take time and the answer is not always yes. The Council also need to register the proposed site with the Environment Agency. We will often do a site visit with you to check the suitability. Depending on who owns the land, alternative funding sources may be investigated.

3. Find others to join the scheme
To start, you need a group of at least 10 residents including two compost monitors who will share the responsibility of the scheme. The contact details of the members are held by the Food Partnership and accessed only by monitors to comply with our privacy policy.

Usually the people who help set up a new scheme are the monitors. The monitors will need to agree to the Compost Monitor Roles and Responsibilities (pdf).

4. Consult with the local community
Monitors will need to do some community consultation which usually involves putting up posters and speaking to neighbours and residents groups in person and online to check there are no objections to setting up the scheme.

5. Bins installed
Once the local community is happy, the landowner has given permission, funding is available and enough households want to join – the bins, locks and worms are ordered and the bins installed. Food Partnership staff offer inductions to new monitors and members and hand out free caddies for members to use in the kitchen.

6. Composting begins
Residents add their raw fruit and veg waste, worms are added, and composting begins. The compost monitors keep an eye on how things are going and contact members and the Food Partnership if there are any issues. Monitors organise a rota of members who help turn the compost regularly which keeps it healthy.

7. Compost is ready!
Compost is ready when it is dark and crumbly and no longer has identifiable food pieces in it. Members get priority for taking the ready compost and whatever is left is offered to local community gardens or advertised by the Food Partnership for gardeners to come and collect it.

Enquiry form

Sadly, due to limitations in funding from the Council, we are unable to open any new schemes at present. When we are able to open more schemes, we will advertise this in our newsletter.

 





I confirm I am interested in helping set up a new scheme in my area and being a volunteer compost monitor once the scheme is up and running. I have downloaded and read the compost monitor roles and responsibilities document on this page and confirm I have the required skills and commitment.
Tick to confirm

I am happy for the Food Partnership to store my details and contact me. I understand I cannot share the contact details of other composting members with 3rd parties.
Tick to confirm

Subscribe to our fortnightly email newsletter to keep in touch.

By completing this form, you agree to have your information shared with the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership. We will not share your details with anyone not connected with your query. You can unsubscribe from our newsletters at any time. For more about how we use your information please see our Privacy Policy.

 

Once we have received your enquiry form, we will call you to discuss the next steps.

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