Diarmuid Gavin advises people to 'make your own compost'
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When you are finished clipping your fingernails or toenails, it’s pretty common to chuck them straight in the bin. However, if you are a budding gardener, these leftover items could actually prove a vital asset for blooming summer flowers.
Making your own compost is a great way to use up leftover household items, most commonly this is in the form of food such as banana skins and eggshells.
Compost is commonly prepared by decomposing plant and food waste, as well as organic materials.
These then break down, releasing a number of nutrients, which can improve soil and help your garden thrive.
According to experts from Conserve Energy Future, your fingernails actually hold “one incredibly important ingredient” to give plants a crucial boost.
They explain: “Because they take some time before they fully decompose, they are a slow-release source of nitrogen, one incredibly important ingredient of the composting process, the other being carbon.”
The nails can simply be added into your compost bin along with any other organic materials you normally pop in there.
Due to how small they are, you likely will not be able to make an entire compost heap from nails alone.
Human nails can take a while to break down but will disintegrate faster or slower depending on the environment and the presence of microorganisms.
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This is because they contain varying amounts of heavy metals from the environment which have entered the body.
Over time microorganisms, bacteria, and other microscopic lifeforms will feed on the nails.
As those lifeforms produce waste, nails transition to carbon dioxide and ammonia.
The slow breakdown of nails is what makes them such a great source of slow-releasing nitrogen.
However, there are some key stipulations about adding nail clippings to your compost bin.
Nails painted with varnish, and fake nails or acrylics can not be added to your compost bin.
The chemicals contained in nail varnish and acrylic nails are considered hazardous waste because they are toxic.
If these chemicals transfer to your compost heap, they will eventually poison your plants.
Instead, nail clippings should be free from nail polish before adding to the heap.
According to Conserve Energy Future, nail clippings from pets can also be added to your compost bin, though will take a lot longer to break down.
You should also be cautious of any wildlife that may be able to access your compost bin.
As human nails are indigestible, they can pose serious danger if eaten by birds and other garden wildlife.
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