Over the years composting in the home has risen in popularity with the latest development replacing the plastic composter and going for a ‘greener’ cardboard version instead.
The cardboard box composting system’s appeal is that it is both cheap and simple, bad-odour-free and well-suited to small spaces. Without a necessity for a special place to set the box up, though sunlight and ventilation are important for success.
A great reason to start composting is to cut down on food waste. Cutting down on landfill methane emissions — a potent, smelly greenhouse gas — by producing less rubbish is an added perk.
To create a cardboard composting bin, all you need is a large cardboard box, coco peat, which is made from coconut husks, and horticultural ash, like hardwood ash. Together, the coco peat and hardwood ash create the ideal conditions for oxygen-hungry aerobic bacteria to thrive, which then help decompose food scraps. Because the cardboard box method involves aerobic decomposition, the compost doesn’t smell. And, the highly absorbent ash captures moisture, so there isn’t any sticky liquid or sludge to deal with.
“You just have to create an environment that has a lot of oxygen and where natural microorganisms can thrive,” said Kayoko Kondo, a researcher in the Department of Environmental Design at Kyushu University who helped popularize the cardboard box method in Japan. “It really allows you to start seeing food scraps not as something you toss in the rubbish, but something you can return to nature with your own hands.”
Some quick tips: Use any large cardboard box — not plastic or metal, which won’t let the compost breathe — and reinforce the bottom of the box with an extra layer of cardboard. Raise the cardboard box on some blocks to further improve air flow. Use roughly three parts coco peat, two parts ash. Consider using a tea towel, secured with string, to cover the box*.