A campaign to encourage home composting was launched on Friday by environment commissioner Ioanna Panayiotou in collaboration with the supermarket association and the press and information office (PIO).
The campaign is set to last for a month and during this time, informative materials will be handed out in supermarkets. In addition, the PIO and the office of the environment commissioner have prepared a short video which will be promoted on social and mass media to raise awareness and inform the public.
Speaking at the press conference for the launch, Panayiotou said composting can be done very easily in the garden using a simple compost bin to collect organic waste.
Among other things, it counteracts soil erosion, suppresses soil-borne pathogens, helps to save water, reduces CO2 emissions and aids the circular economy.
All that is needed to start with is a bucket to collect kitchen waste, a composter – which can be a big box – a fork to turn the compost and preferably a shredder.
Nearly all kitchen material can be used, but because of the smell the meat is not recommended.
According to Xenia Loizidou, director of environmental research and project centre AKTI, who has demonstrated the process to the public in the past, it is also better not to use fish and to avoid oil and dairy products though theoretically, all organic substances are suitable for recycling.
Most of the garden waste should be leaves. They disintegrate quickly and are a natural source of carbon, though leaves from Eucalyptus trees which may be toxic and pine trees should be avoided.
It is recommended to leave cut grass on the ground for at least a day before using. Once it turns yellow, it can be added in small quantities.
For fast results the ratio of ingredients rich in carbon (dry leaves, paper, saw dust) and rich in nitrogen (fruit and vegetables, grass, dung) should be three to one. It is usually not necessary to add water, as fruits and vegetables already contain enough. However, in Cyprus it may be required to add a little from time to time during the summer months.
The whole process of producing compost takes three months to one year.
It is ready when the organic matter turns into humus which has a dark brown colour and smells of the ground after it has rained.
Humus improves the root structure of all plants in the garden and also allows them to breath. One can sprinkle it over the grass and mix it with soil to use for indoor plants and plants in pots.