ECDRR does not offer any county wide composting programs. Check with your local municipality about composting in your neighborhood. Some municipalities operate their own drop-off and/or pick-up services separate from the ECDRR and are limited to residents of the operating municipality.
Starting to compost at home is a much simpler task than it sounds. There are many benefits to composting some of which include: overall waste reduction, landfill waste diversion, and soil enrichment. Listed below are simplified steps to household composting.
1. Chose a location in your yard
- The ideal spots are dry, shaded, and close to a water source
- Ideally you would have two compost piles - to alternate usage
2. Create boxes, bins, or piles
- You can purchase compost bin/box from most local hardware stores, you can build your own - it simply needs to be accessible, or you can make a pile
3. Understand acceptable and unacceptable food wastes
- Keeping unacceptable food wastes out of the compost pile will not only lessen the smell, but also help limit the attraction of unwanted pests/scavengers.
Acceptable Food Wastes
Unacceptable Food Wastes
Highly processed foods
4. Add waste materials
- Follow the browns to greens ratio of 5-10:1 (example.5-10 cm browns layer to 1 cm greens layer). This is not an exact science and trial and error will help find the best ratio for your compost.
- Browns = Leaves, branches, twigs, and etc. These materials are high in Nitrogen.
- Greens = Vegetable clippings, food scraps, grass clippings, and etc. These materials are high in Carbon.
- Ensure small and varied particle size of both browns and greens
- All materials should be chopped into smaller pieces and should vary in size, this will ensure quicker and more even breakdown of materials
5. Water and turn (processing)
- Add water when adding a larger quantity of materials
- Turn using a shovel or pitch fork, this helps distribute water and materials evenly
- To help limit the smell be sure to bury food scrapes under other materials – 10 inches is recommended
6. “Set” period
- Still process at desired frequency but do not add new waste materials
- Ensures even and thorough decomposition
7. Utilize the final product (compost) and start the process over
- Compost is generally used as a soil enhancer for vegetable or flower gardens
Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection - Turn Your Spoils into Soil
Cornell Cooperative Extension Publication: 4-H Leader’s/Teacher’s Guide, Composting: Wastes to Resources
Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy - Home Composting: Reap a Heap of Benefits
Michigan State University Extension - Composting: A Smart Gardening Practice to Recycle Garden and Yard Waste
Pennsylvania State University Extension - Home Composting: A Guide for Home Gardeners
United States Environmental Protection Agency - Sustainable Management of Food