Brown Bins, Kitchen Caddy and Composting
All bins/recycling containers to be presented by 7.30am for collection.
All bins are to have closed lids and no additional side waste will be collected except in exceptional circumstances (adverse weather, vehicle breakdown, road closures).
This service is on a fortnightly collection scheme, items which can go into your brown bin are as follows;
- Cardboard e.g. pizza boxes
- Cooking oil e.g. vegetable oil, olive oil
- Food waste e.g. cooked food scraps, fish, meat & bones (raw & cooked), peelings, seeds, pips and cores, mouldy foods, dairy products, bread, cakes, pastries
- Garden waste e.g. cuttings and prunings, flowers, grass cuttings, hedge trimmings, leaves, sawdust & wood chips, twigs, bark, weeds
- Other items e.g. cold ashes, shredded paper, kitchen roll, tissue paper, napkins
Items which cannot go into your brown bin include:
- Soil, rubble and stones
- Pet Waste
- Packaging of any sort
- Plastic bags
- Any material which is not green waste or food waste
Invasive non-native plants
Weeds are accepted in your brown bin but invasive non-native plants such as Japanese Knotweed and Giant Hogweed are not permitted by law.
- DO NOT put any part of it in your brown bin, landfill bin or compost bin
- DO NOT take it to a tip, recycling centre or waste transfer station
- DO NOT dump or fly-tip cuttings
Ordering a new brown bin
If you would like to order a new bin please log onto Council Direct (Request for Service) or contact Waste Helpdesk on T: 0300 124 5000 (Option 0).
Food waste e.g. bread, cooked food scraps, dairy products, egg shells, fish, meat & bones (raw & cooked), pastries, peelings, seeds, pips, cores, raw food scraps, tea bags, coffee grounds
Please place any of the above food waste items into your lined kitchen caddy. Once full, please tie the bag and pop into your brown bin outside.
The biodegradable and compostable green bag liner will be provided for free to householders three times a year. If you require additional bags, please purchase them from Council premises or from your local supermarket.
- Larne: Smiley Building, Victoria Road, Tourist Information Centre
- Ballymena: Ardeevin Council Buildings, The Braid, Showgrounds, Seven Towers Leisure Centre
- Carrickfergus: Town Hall, Cash Desk
Home Composters can be purchased from the Council at a cost of £5 (collection only) from the following Household Recycling Centres:
- Waveney Road Household Recycling Centre, Ballymena,
- Sullatober Household Recycling Centre, Mashallstown Road, Carrickfergus
- Redlands Householder Recycling Centre, Harbour Highway, Larne
Payment can be made over the phone 0300 124 5000 (Cashdesk) or online using Council.Direct.
Please note you will issued an electronic receipt* (via e-mail) upon payment which you are required to show at the HRC.
*A screen shot of your receipt is acceptable during Covid-19 reduced access.
How to make your own home composter
Building a Compost Bin with Pallets
Start by joining together three pallets to create the back and sides. Stand them up, lean them against each other then screw them together to hold them in place. The two side walls should be flush with the width of the rear wall.
Screw two brackets to each corner of the bin, one at the top and one at the bottom. You now have your completed walls.
The fourth pallet will be made into a door for the compost bin, to make filling it easy. Using a saw, cut the pallet in half between two of the rear slats. Correspondingly, the front side should be cut between two of the front slats. Saw right up against the slats to give an even, tidy finish.
Now attach the doors to the walls. Use two strong hinges per door, attaching the hinges on the outside so the door can swing out more easily. Set the bottom door slightly off the ground to stop it from catching. Similarly, leave a slight gap between the bottom and top doors. With the hinges in place, it’s time for the hooks and latches. Screw them into position, near the top of each door.
The compost bin is now finished, but if you want to make yours extra sturdy you can screw in additional plate brackets at the rear corners. The front ends can be further anchored into place by hammering in lengths of rebar either side of the walls, effectively jamming the pallets into position.
What can I put in the compost bin?
Like any recipe, your compost relies on the right ingredients to make it work. Good things you can compost include vegetable peelings, fruit waste, teabags, plant prunings and grass cuttings. These are considered “Greens.” Greens are quick to rot and they provide important nitrogen and moisture. Other things you can compost include cardboard egg boxes, scrunched up paper and fallen leaves. These are considered “Browns” and are slower to rot. They provide fibre and carbon and also allow important air pockets to form in the mixture. Crushed eggshells can be included to add useful minerals.
|Vegetable Peelings / Egg Shells Cooked Vegetables / Bread / Meat Scraps / Bones||Materials Infected with Persistant Diseases e.g. Potato Blight|
|Fruit Scraps||Pernicious Weeds e.g. Bind Weed / Weeds with Seed heads|
|Tea bags/leave & Coffee Grounds||Large Unchopped Woody Branches|
|Grass Cuttings||Cat or Dog or Rabbit Litter|
|Finely Chopped or Shredded Shrub Prunnings||Japanese knotweed|
|Most Garden Weeds|
|Straw and Hay|
Are there any things I should take care not to put in?
Certain things should never be placed in your bin. No cooked vegetables, no meat, no dairy products, no diseased plants, and definitely no dog poo or cat litter, or baby’s nappies. Putting these in your bin can encourage unwanted pests and can also create odour. Also avoid composting perennial weeds (such as dandelions and thistle) or weeds with seed heads. Remember that plastics, glass and metals are not suitable for composting and should be recycled separately.
My compost is too wet/dry is there anything I can do to control moisture and ensure a good mix?
The key to good compost lies in getting the mix right. You need to keep your Greens and Browns properly balanced. If your compost is too wet, add more Browns. If it’s too dry, add some Greens. Making sure there is enough air in the mixture is also important. Adding scrunched up bits of cardboard is a simple way to create air pockets that will help keep your compost healthy. Air can also be added by mixing the contents. After approximately 6-9 months your finished compost will be ready.
Where should I place my compost bin?
It’s best to site your bin on a level, well drained spot. This allows excess water to drain out and makes it easier for helpful creatures such as worms to get in and get working on breaking down the contents. Placing your bin in a partially sunny spot can help speed up the composting process.
How will I know when my compost is ready to use?
Finished compost is a dark brown, almost black soil-like layer that you’ll find at the bottom of your bin. It has a spongy texture and is rich in nutrients. Some bins have a small hatch at the bottom that you can remove to get at the finished product, but sometimes it’s even easier to lift the bin or to tip it over to get at your compost. Spreading the finished compost into your flowerbeds greatly improves soil quality by helping it retain moisture and suppressing weeds. Composting is the easiest way to make your garden grow more beautiful.
What should I do with the things which cannot be put into the home composter? Are there any alternatives to using this type of compost bin?
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council also offer a kerbside collection of food waste and garden waste through the brown bin and food bin service which turns food and garden waste into useful compost. All types of food waste, as outline above, can go into the brown bin and a free kitchen caddy and compostable liners supplied by the Council to make the service easy to use.
For more information go to the Recycle Now's Home Composting page.