Cool Composting: a fresh approach
by Peter Harper
pub. Centre for Alternative Technology, 2001
Paperback, 12 pages, 3.50
ISBN 1 89804 931 9

CAT, or the Centre for Alternative Technology, is well known for its attempts at enlightening the world about technological 'alternatives', and this short Factsheet by Peter Harper is packed with fresh ideas and information about composting.

It is aimed at householders who want to use their gardens to reduce the amount of organic waste going to the dustman, rather than following the traditional gardener's route of bringing in outside materials such as straw, adding clippings, and then turning the heap frequently.

The author compares what will work in composting to making a good cheese sandwich, and this CAT Factsheet is based on the result of three years of household and laboratory trials.

Though it is a short publication the author reviews composting practice - classical hot composting, indiscriminate dumping (in the hope that compost will result), and wormeries; although the author notes that there is quite a high failure rate in wormeries due to various reasons.

What Peter Harper proposes is a hybrid approach that includes waste paper and cardborad as source material - in other words recycling lots of household waste material - in a 'high fibre system'. The Factsheet analyses the success, limitations and drawbacks of this system, as well as factors such as shredding, smells and activators, vermin and flies, and there are recommendations for both High Fibre and Slow Stack composting methods for the home garden.

At 3.50 this short publication should provide you with alternative ideas for composting your waste, and is an inexpensive entry-point for those wanting to know the in's and out's of successful composting.

Available from CAT at 01654 705980 or

Copyright © 2001