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Free Council Compost

Our local council offers free compost at it's recycling facility. You just turn up with a few bags and a spade and help yourself.

I was planning on using it to mulch my garden. However I was worried about it's safety. The only real information I could find on the internet was this link.

As I understand only a small amount of what is processed is offered free to residents and it appears the rest is sold and I assume makes it way into multi-purpose compost bags that you can buy???? However, I'm worried that I may end up introducing perennial weeds or that the compost may be contaminated in some other way????

It looks good quality, jet black and crumbly, it has a few larger particles that look like wood chips in it but otherwise looks very similar to a cheaper bag of MPC that you can buy.

I certainly wouldn't buy anything to mulch with but as it's free I'm happy to put in the work but would you use it? Is it better than nothing? Do you think it's safe? Do you know any other information on the matter? I dread to think of the things that people throw in their green waste bin - maybe even knotweed image 



  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,158

    I share your fears JonesK

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 2,286

    I think it would be common practice to put the rubbish stuff in the council bin and compost the good stuff for a lot of people.

    It is how I get rid of conifer cuttings and the muck I sweep off the drive that I would not put on my own compost heap.

    I've certainly heard it recommended on recent gardening programs to put any rubbish stuff in the council bins, so I don't feel I'm alone with taking this attitude.

  • On the other hand the council's larger green waste heaps reach a much higher temperature than a domestic compost bin; I've understood that this means it's safe to 'green bin' nasties you wouldn't put in your garden compost as the higher temperature will kill them. So the compost may be fine.

  • CarlyannCarlyann Posts: 52

    Hi Jonesk you would do well to dread what other people discard.The only time we bought soil conditioner from the council we were inundated with all sorts of weeds,it was a nightmare getting rid of them.Not worth the hassle.

  • JIMMMYJIMMMY Posts: 241


    I compost  all my own garden/kitchen waste, NO chickweed or bittercress and nothing with seed heads on it, so when I use the completed garden compost I have few nasties from it!

    But my two next door neighbours put all their nasties into the green council bins, no matter what they say I would not like to use the council stuff.

  • CarlyannCarlyann Posts: 52

    yes spot on Jimmy we just have no idea what is going into the council stuff. I am  also a bit wary of adverts for "screened" topsoil.

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114
    Food waste is also turned into Council compost. Not by every council, but certainly by some.
  • That's PAS100 (which in your jurisdiction is still a waste product) not QP(C). See the AOR, EA and DEFRA WRAP guidelines.

    ...(for more acronyms)

    IIRC there are process charts from allowable feedstocks green or green+food through the different types of bioreactors to the end products..

    I'm not the type to drive or buy what I can make from waste so I couldn't buy it unless it was delivered. I've more here than I have a use for, in fact the garden is half a metre higher than the neighbours. I won a couple of bags of compost that was openly stated as being recycled green municipal waste in an online competition  though (here or another mag) and had no problem with seedbanks. I can't remember the brand but it was a major one.

    So what if a few weeds emerge, hoe them off.

  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 13,714

    I do use it, although pay £1 a bag.

    The council composter gets very hot so is likely to kill perennial weeds. I have had no problems and am always in need of more compost.

    How can you lie there and think of England
    When you don't even know who's in the team

    S.Yorkshire/Derbyshire border
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