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Experiment Guidelines

If you compost and want to take part in our home composting experiment, you’ll need a selection of compostable or biodegradable items. See below for further details.

1. Create a login account

Create a login account and share a few extra details about what composter you will be using for the experiment, its location in the UK for our Live Composting Map, and your composting method. There is the option to share a photo of your composter, if you wish. Please indicate on your form if you would like to share your image(s) on the Big Compost Experiment website. See our Photography Guidelines for more information.

If you do not use a composter, but are interested in giving composting a go, please see our About Composting page for useful tips on getting started.

2. Choose your items

Select the type and quantity of biodegradable plastic item(s) from our list that you would like to test. Please only select examples that display the following manufacturer information:

  • ’compostable’ (only)
  • ‘home biodegradable’
  • ‘home compostable’
  • ‘suitable for home composting’
  • TUV OK Compost ‘HOME’ label

Submit details about your selected item(s) and the length of time you wish to run your experiment for. Please set the duration of your experiment based on how long it usually takes you to make compost. We’ll use this information to send you an email reminder when your experiment is due to end.

There is also the option for you to upload images of your selected item(s) – please refer to our Photography Guidelines. This information will help us analyse the results of your home composting experiment. Please indicate on your form if you would like to share your image(s) on the Big Compost Experiment website.

3. Start the experiment

Add the selected items to your composter and carry on composting as usual. We’ll send you an email reminder when your experiment is due to finish.

4. Submit your results

At the end of your experiment, please look for traces of these item(s) in your composter. Use a trowel or spade to look for the items in your compost; a household sieve may be useful to look for smaller traces of your item(s). Under 18s must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

Collect any traces you find (if there are any) and compare them with our ‘Scale of Degradation,’ which you will find once you login to your account. Record any other useful observations about your item(s) and your composter using the online results form in your login account.

There is also the option to upload image(s) of your results. This information will help us analyse the results of your home composting experiment. Please indicate on your form if you would like to share your image(s) on the Big Compost Experiment website. See our Photography Guidelines for more information.

Once you have completed your experiment, please dispose of any remaining material from your items in your general waste collection.