Compost Magazine

Composting tips, advice and science.

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Looking for the Laziest Ways To Compost? Here’s 7 (Can You Be Bothered to Read Them All?)

So often on Compost Magazine we’ve focused on the fastest and best ways to make compost. 

Sure, there are hacks and tricks and tips to reduce the effort, but they all involve some effort. 

And not everyone wants to put effort into composting. 

So in this article, I wanted to cover some of the easiest, laziest ways to make compost. 

After all, there are many ways to make compost. While the methods below may not be fast or even produce the best compost, they do involve the least effort. 

Anaerobic v. aerobic composting

First, a quick primer on what anaerobic composting is, as this will feature in at least some of the methods we are going to cover. 

Typically on this site we have focussed on aerobic (with air) composting, because it’s faster and produces less methane. 

The problem is that, even with hacks, you still have to manage the compost heap a bit. 

Anaerobic composting involves composting without air. It still makes compost, it just usually takes longer (and smells more in the process).

From the least lazy to the laziest

All the methods below are fairly lazy, but some involve some level of effort at some point. 

We’ll start at the least lazy, and work our way through to the laziest, in the hope we can drag your idle soul right down to the end of this post 😉

Pit or Trench composting

Kitchen scraps in a hole.

It took just two minutes to dig the hole above.

With trench composting you dig a trench, piling the earth alongside it. 

Ideally you’d go about 2 feet deep, but if you are filling it with veg scraps, leaves, clippings and the like you can probably get away with 12-18 inches. 

(You may bury meat, but I’ve found that even when it’s buried it still gets dug up by animals.)

As you collect waste, you dump it in the trench and fork (okay, kick) the earth over the waste. 

Some people like to do it in layers. This involves a layer of waste, followed by a thin layer of earth, and so on. That does mean more material composted for less work!

Pit trenching is essentially the same, except that you dig a single hole (like the one I dug in the picture above)

Sure, they both involves a bit of work at the start, but after that it’s easy. 

Still too much work! Okay, let’s move on…

Half-buried compost bin 

Still a bit of digging, but after that it’s super easy. (Promise!)

Here you get a trash can (either metal or plastic). Drill holes in the bottom of the trash can and along the side. 

Make sure the holes are in the bottom part of the trash can.

Dig a hole that is deep enough to cover the holes in the side. Place the trash can in the soil. Once that is done you can simply throw your waste in the bin, placing the lid over it so pests can’t get in it.

Yes, you do have to dig out the compost eventually, but in the meantime, you simply chuck in the waste and forget about it. 

Still too much work? Okay then, let’s move on to:

Lasagne gardening

Also known as sheet gardening.

There are a few ways to do it, but one is to get some cardboard, cover the ground with the cardboard or paper, and throw your organic waste on top of it. 

Over time it rots away, and the weeds below are killed by the lack of light.

Do note that this tends to work better in areas where there aren’t a lot of slugs, which is why I gave up on it in my wet climate. 

What? Laying down cardboard is too much work? Well, how about: 

Chuck it all on a heap and forget about it

The great thing about composting is that it does, eventually, happen. 

If you chuck everything in a pile and add to it when you have waste, you’ll get compost eventually. 

You do want to avoid adding anything smelly if you care about getting pests. 

Even if you bury it, your pile will likely not get hot.

That means the compost will not decompose the materials before pests get at it.  (Although it could still get hot if the pile is big enough and contains the right materials). 

Or you could: 

Chuck it all in a bin and forget about it…

Weeds in a bin.

You could just use a garbage bin. There’s won’t be any airflow, but anaerobic decomposition will take place in the meantime. Just don’t look at it (or smell it) in the meantime. 

Or you could drill some holes… I know too much work.

Still, you’ll love the next one!

Bag composting

Bag with compost in side it.

Put everything in a plastic bag, and forget about it for a few months.

Again, ideally don’t put anything too smelly in it, or pests will break in. Don’t smell it either before it turns into compost!

You do still need to add a mixture of green and brown materials, and it’s best to water the materials before sealing the bag.

If you’re interested, do check out our detailed guide to plastic bag composting!

Sounds easy, right? I know I have your attention now, so you’re going to love this next one…

Cut and drop!

Every time you’re gardening, just drop anything you pull, trim or cut on the ground. 

Coined by Robert Pavlis in Compost Science for Gardeners, this really has to be the easiest method. You drop the waste on the ground, and eventually, it will decompose. It’s all very natural. 

I don’t do this for everything (I like composting), but for small weeds that are not worth putting in the compost, or the weed you notice when walking past your bed, it’s ideal. 

Composting doesn’t have to be hard work

The great thing about composting is that you can put as little or as much work into it as possible. 

There are trade-offs – some effort results in better speed, and quite possibly better results.

Still, whatever method you choose, at the end of the day you will still get rich, nutritious compost which will benefit your soil for years to come. 

Read more

13 Composting Methods (Plus How to Choose The Best One): Have we sparked your interest with these 7 lazy ways to compost? In this post we cover 13 different methods, so you can choose the best one for you.


Huw Richards explain his method of Lazy Composting:

YouTube video player


What is lazy composting?

A way of composting that prioritises ease and convenience over speed. It involves allowing organic materials to decompose naturally over time without turning or mixing the compost pile. In many ways it mimics the decomposition process in nature.

What are the benefits of lazy composting?

You don’t do as much work – but you still get compost which can benefit your soil. It just takes longer. 

What types of organic materials can be used in lazy composting?

Theoretically almost any organic materials can be used in lazy composting, including kitchen scraps, yard waste, and even paper products. However, foods like meat, dairy, or oily foods are more likely to attract pests with lazy composting than with hot composting. It’s best to stick to non-smelly items!

Do I need a special container for lazy composting?

No. You can simply create a compost pile in a corner of your yard. However, it’s important to make sure that the compost pile is located in a well-draining area.

How often should I add new materials to the compost pile?

Whenever you want, and as much as you want.

How long does it take for compost to be ready with lazy composting?

As long as a piece of string! It depends on materials, environment, moisture levels e.t.c. but could be anything from 6 months to 2 years. 

Do I need to turn the compost pile with lazy composting?

That would be veering into non-lazy composting! However, you could use a tool like the Ejwox aerator, which allows you to get air into the compost with much less effort than turning it. 

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