You may have come across traditional composting quite a lot and one might find it interesting to hear that you can start composting under black plastic or compost in black plastic bags.

This would be a fine idea for someone who doesn’t have a lot of space in their yard. It is easy, not that costly and turns out to be quite effective as well. In fact, you could make a quality compost out of it, and it could make wonders on the vegetation.

Composting Under Black Plastic

This process is mainly involved with black plastic bags. They would provide the perfect warm and dark conditions for the composting process to take place. Many people opt to go ahead with this as it is so easy. That said, you cannot simply throw away some leaves in a black plastic bag just like that. You need to follow the general guideline and then add the materials as recommended even though there will be different conditions when compared to the traditional composting methods.

Composting would take place effectively given that there is a right balance of brown and green materials. In other words, composting would take place when there are carbon rich materials and nitrogen rich materials in the right amounts along with some moisture in warm conditions.

It is the same theory you need to apply when it comes to composting irrespective of the method you practice. So, if you are excited to learn about this aspect, you may keep on reading this article.

Black plastic composting

When it comes to black plastic composting, one might think, you can simply place some fall leaves in black plastic bags. However it should not be the way. If you do so, the leaves would break down much slower. 

You need to ideally use shredded leaves just like you do with other traditional composting methods. If there are smaller leaves, they would break down rapidly. So, you may simply mow the leaves and then collect them. Next, fill the black plastic bags with leaves. They should be ideally 30-40 gallons in size and 3 mil in thickness along with leaves.

You need to add about ½ cup of fertilizer which is highly enriched with Nitrogen. Alternatively, you may consider adding two shovels of manure as well. These substances would act as a great source of Nitrogen which is crucial for the breaking down of the carbon tree leaves. Thereafter you could add 1-2 quarts of water to each bag. Keep in mind that it is fundamental to provide right moisture levels for the microbes to function and break down the leaves. 

Many people tend to be socially responsible by being sustainable and eco friendly. Hence, they opt to go ahead with composting a lot as it is an environmentally friendly activity. There are so many ways of composting. However, using the black plastic bags is becoming popular. You could easily find these elements around your house with so much ease.

You could simply use fallen leaves and some other ingredients and then seal the bag. Let them mix and allow them to decompose. You could see how well it has progressed after one years’ time. It is very easy to try this method.

How to get this started?

If I explain how to practice this method in detail, you need to first arrange black plastic garbage bags first. It is best to use double plastic bags to do this task so that the ingredients inside would not fall out. In addition to that you need to leave the ingredients in it to gain appropriate environmental conditions too. As aforesaid, you can go ahead with a 30-gallon sized black plastic bag for this purpose.

You may also use compost trash bags to do this task too. These bags are ideal for heavy duty and for retaining construction debris as well. Their durability makes them retain the ingredients inside the bags without spilling.

The prime material you need to use for this purpose are leaves. So, Autumn would be the best season to conduct this process as there will be plenty of fallen leaves during this time. One might prefer to rake and get rid of them. However some may opt to make use of them in a much more ecofriendly way. Ideally you need to use shredded leaves or dried out leaves. You need to fill the compost bags for about ¾ depth.

Fertilizers are yet another important factor you could use to make composting. Keep in mind that it is important that you provide Nitrogen rich fertilizers so that the microbes can conduct their composting mechanism effectively. 

You may also use animal manure for this purpose. Next you need to add a handful of soil so that it would create an environment conducive for the nitrogen microbes to function. Water is yet another important element which you need to add here. In fact, you may add only a quarter of water only. You may mix it along with other ingredients in the bag.

Deciding between anaerobic or aerobic conditions

Once you fill the black garbage bags with the above elements, you need to decide how to compost the material. You could do it in two ways such as anaerobic and aerobic ways. If you wish to practice the anaerobic compost method, you don’t need to add oxygen.

Composting Under Black Plastic

Conducting composting in Anaerobic way

If you are someone who doesn’t want to have any oversight, best would be to proceed with the anaerobic way of composting. All you need to do is simply seal the garbage bags so that oxygen would not reach through to them.

It would take about one year for the composting to take place entirely. I recommend you go ahead with this method for the plants which prefer to grow in acidic compost. You have to only spend a little effort from your side to get this sorted. However, this is much more a time consuming method of composting.

Furthermore, one more advantage of practicing this method is that it would produce heat and toxic gasses such as methane. Keep in mind that methane gas releases a foul smell. So, chances are that it would make your compost bag smell unpleasant.

Conducting composting in Aerobic way

You need to provide a sufficient amount of oxygen if you practice this method of composting. Thus, you need to create holes in the bags and then let the oxygen circulate into those bags. You may simply use a screwdriver and poke some holes so that it would create sufficient ventilation there. However beware that you don’t create holes to spill out the ingredients in it.

Ensure that you check the bags on a weekly basis and then turn it in. It would allow for a better air circulation in the black compost bag. You could see how the ingredients have been composted within a short period of 6-8 week’s time.

The rapidity of this composting method is an added advantage of trying this method out. Not only that but also, it would not release any toxic gas as well. However the only concern is that you will have to do it with some hard work.

What are the materials you need to use for composting?

You could use household waste fruits and vegetables, egg boxes, eggshells, houseplants, tea bags, newspaper, coffee grounds and filters, paper towels and paper bags, hair, boxes, firewood ashes etc. to do this task. These materials would act as great brown materials. These would act as the source of carbon. In addition to that they would help to gain air into the compost bags as well.

On the other hand, you could use materials such as yard trimmings, fallen leaves, dead flowers, weeds, saw dust etc. if I further elaborate on these, Yard trimming contains high levels of nitrogen. Further fallen leaves would come up with significant levels of carbon. Lastly you may also use brown materials such as horse manure, rabbit manure hay as well.

Keep in mind that the green materials would act as the great source of Nitrogen in the compost and they would keep nourishing the compost mix and ultimately it would produce a good quality soil mix at the end.

Avoid using elements such as coal, charcoal ash, dairy products as well as meat bones and fish bones. Furthermore, don’t use elements such as dog droppings, cats droppings. Besides these, refrain from adding magazines, glossy paper, nuts cooked food, unhealthy plants, twig walnut tree leaves, oil fat items, pastas etc.

Black Bag Composting Just for Leaves?

As aforesaid, you may use other elements which are explained in the above for composting too. However, leaves would play a major role in providing a significant level of carbon for the compost bag.

Furthermore, you could collect plenty of them especially during autumn and even your neighbors would love sharing them with you since using leaves for composting is such a great initiative in terms of sustainability.

It is always best to use dead leaves for this purpose as they would be great as mulch layers. However, what is very special about composting is that you could convert all this wastage into a precious nutrient enriched fertilizer type which you could use on your vegetations. So, to sum up you may use fruit vegetable wastage, weeds, yard waste, straw and hay, coffee grounds and lastly cardboard as well.

What are the ingredients you need to avoid using in your black plastic compost bags?

You simply have to refrain from using elements which you don’t use in your regular compost piles. So, you need to avoid using meat items, dairy products, dog food and droppings etc. Grease and oil items, pesticides treated yard trimming and painted word plastic elements and glossy paper and magazines should also be avoided.

Where to get all the green materials?

Green materials are known as wet materials. They have a higher level of Nitrogen, and you may use fruit scraps and vegetable scraps for this purpose. Apart from that you may also use trimmed flowers, trimmed leaves, grass clippings and animal manure except the pets and humans. 

Make sure that you keep the right ratio when you mix these elements with brown elements. Ideally you need to store these in an airtight bucket or in any other container and then place them in a black plastic bag.

Where to get all the brown materials?

Tree bark, dried corn stalks autumn’s leaves, peanut shells, newspaper cardboard which are not made with glossy material or colored inks would be quite handy as brown materials. These are the elements which would provide carbon for the composting process.

 I urge you to start composting during fall as there will be a plenty of dried leaves which you could make use for this purpose.

Composting Under Black Plastic

Composting with only fall leaves

If you struggle to find sufficient green materials which would fit in a 50/50 ratio, you can consider using only the fallen leaves in a black plastic bag. You may shred the leaves by simply running a mower on those. You could keep doing this step until you fill about 2 thick garbage bags. Furthermore, you may add 2 shovels of manure or even 1⁄2 cup of nitrogen as well.

You could add the shredded leaves and then add a layer of soil and a quarter or two of water. Next seal it tight. However bear in mind that using leaves only for composting is a somewhat slow composting process. That said they would still work with the mechanism of the microorganisms. 

How easy it is to practice the black plastic composting method

Composting itself is a relatively easy process to do. Above all it is an activity to showcase that you are a socially responsible person who is concerned about the environment. You could reduce wastage and reduce that going into landfill.

Once you compost, it would supply nutrients back to the soil. This literally means you don’t need to apply pesticides as well. Besides that will reduce the weeds as well. it will further keep the ecosystem in the soil healthy.

So, if you are not too sure on how to resume composting and if you don’t have much space for composting you could consider trying this method out.

How do you know compost is ready ?

Once you spot all the material has decomposed, it literally means the compost is ready to use. you will not be able to identify anything be it kitchen scrap or yard waste. Furthermore it should release a fresh earthy smell as well. It should not emit any foul smell and it should be crumbly to your hands as well. 

Conclusion : Composting Under Black Plastic

Hope this article on “composting under black plastic” gave you an insight on how to conduct composting in black plastic materials and now that you are all clear on how to conduct it precisely. There are distinctive advantages of conducting this method and you will feel accomplished when you spot it entirely composed. 

Credit to : Wes S

Read Next : Does A Compost Bin Need Air Holes? (Let Me Explain)


Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am a Researcher in Environment and Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. My mission is to help other. You can use this knowledge to enhance your life THE BEST environments you possibly can.

Write A Comment