For composting, there's just four basic ingredient types:
Greens - which are materials with more nitrogen content, and normally more moisture - for example, food scraps, weeds, grass clippings, coffee grounds.
Browns - which are higher carbon materials, generally dry - paper, cardboard, twigs and sticks, wood chips.
Water - you want your pile to be moist but not wet.
Air - you should normally have plenty of this, as long as you don't make your pile too wet.
As long as you have those in a reasonable balance (about 50:50 greens and browns), then you'll be okay, and you'll get a feel for the process and how to adjust your recipe as you go.
For those with busy lives, Soil Factory community composting looks like it could be a great alternative if you aren't able to compost at home.
How does this work, and what would the environmental benefits be?
If you don't have the space or time to compost at home, we operate Soil Factory as a community composting service for people in our area. For a monthly subscription, our team will collect your food scraps on our e-bike and trailer, and bring them back here to hot compost, providing fertility for our vegetable gardens.
If you don't live in our collection zone (parts of Grey Lynn/Ponsonby/Herne Bay), we also offer a drop-off option, for a smaller fee.
By signing up to Soil Factory, you're helping us to create a closed local food loop, and showing that we can take responsibility for recycling our own "waste" into resources at a community level, as well as supporting the local economy.
Once you've got your composting sorted for home, it's also worth thinking about what happens to food scraps from your workplace - we've found that even fairly small offices will generate more than you think, in banana peels, apple cores, last week's forgotten sandwich, and those compostable cups from the times you forget your reusable one.