What do you do with compost?

So you've started a compost heap to reduce the amount of waste your household send to landfill. Now what?

How to tell if it's ready

When your compost is the colour and consistency of potting mix, it's a sure sign it's good to go!

However, you can use it even if it doesn't look perfect. Just ensure that most of the material is broken down. Items such as egg shells and twigs may never completely disappear, but it will still be an effective material.

You may need to sieve out the larger items and pop them back in the compost bin if they are particularly sizeable.

What can you do with it?

Compost is great for your garden – you can use it as potting mix, mulch or add it to your lawns, trees, shrubs, gardens and vegetable patch for extra nutrients.

Why compost?

There are many benefits of composting, both for the environment and your garden.

With up to 40 per cent of the average Australian household's rubbish bins filled with food scraps, this simple measure can see you reduce the amount of waste that is thrown into landfill.

Not everything can be eaten, although it is best to consume as much as you can. Make sure you are reusing leftovers rather than binning them. Items such as vegetable scraps and apple cores can be composted as well as the coffee grounds that you don't want in your reusable coffee cups. But, where you can, try to eat all you purchase. Use reusable sandwich wrap to take leftovers to work.

When you compost scraps you are helping to improve the fertility and texture of your soil, encouraging it to retain more moisture and nutrients. This means your garden will require fewer chemicals as compost-rich soil produces healthier and more productive plants.