Composting at home

Home composting is just one small step towards minimising the amount of waste we create. Home compost is perfect for encouraging healthy growth of plants, shrubs and flowers or simply using as a mulch or lawn fertiliser.

What you can compost
How to build a compost bin
Order a compost bin from our composting partner

Compost is an organic material consisting of garden waste and/or kitchen scraps which has decomposed to form a rich, soil-like substance. During the composting process, tiny organisms feed on the waste and multiply, which breaks down the organic materials. 

             Home compost bin

Home compost is perfect for encouraging healthy growth of plants, shrubs and flowers or simply using as a mulch or lawn fertiliser. Composting at home is just one small step towards minimising the amount of waste we create, but if everybody gets involved then it makes a huge difference.

Milton Keynes Council does not sell compost bins directly so we have joined forces with Get Composting which offers low cost bins on our behalf. You can view and purchase the full range of composters, wormeries and water butts on the Get Composting website or you can call their customer order line on 0844 571 4444.

What you can compost

You need more or less an equal combination of 'browns' (high carbon) and 'greens' (high nitrogen):

  • browns: bits of cardboard, scrunched up paper, dried leaves, wood prunings etc, which create air pockets
  • greens: uncooked fruit and vegetable peelings, garden waste (grass cuttings, green leaves, and soft prunings, etc.) as well as tea bags and coffee grounds

Note: When adding more material, check the contents and mix occasionally. If the mixture is too dry, add water and if it is too wet, add some more browns such as egg cartons or cardboard.

You can't compost:

  • cooked food
  • fish and meat including bones
  • perennial weeds
  • diseased plants
  • cat and dog poo

You can find information on how to locate and get started with your home compost bin and what to put in it on the Recycle Now and  Royal Horticultural Society website.

How to make a compost bin

You Will Need:

  • Spade or rake
  • Strong wooden pallets (four)
  • Sturdy wooden stakes (six)
  • Sledgehammer
  • Bow saw
  • Strong wire

Step 1

Clear the area where you’re going to put the compost bin and, if necessary, level the ground using a spade or a rake. You need to stand the bin on bare soil, not paving. Add a base of chicken wire if you are worried about rats getting in.

Step 2

Take a pallet and stand it on its long edge to form the back edge of the compost bin. Push a stake through the two layers of the pallet at either end, using a sledgehammer to drive them firmly into the ground – about 20-30cm deep.

Step 3

Position the remaining two pallets at right angles to the first to make the sides, butting the corners tightly together to stop compost spilling through the gaps. Fix in place with stakes in each corner, as in step 2.

Step 4

To keep the structure stable, wire the pallets together at each corner. Trim the tops of the stakes with a bow saw.

Step 5

Wire the last pallet onto the front of the right side pallet to make a gate – you’ll need to open it when you want to get to the compost – and start filling your bin with garden and kitchen waste.


For more useful tips on home composting, or for answers to your home composting problems, email

Last Updated: 23 June 2020