Composting 101

What is composting?

  • Composting is a process where aerobic micro-organisms (oxygen loving) break down organic matter such as leftover fruits, vegetables, grass, and leaves and turn your scraps into a nutrient rich soil called humus.
  • Other composting methods are dependent on anaerobic micro-organisms (oxygen hating) to break down food scraps. This process takes longer and can produce a very offensive odor. To prevent this we will frequently (weekly) turn our compost piles which increases the oxygen in the compost piles.

What can I compost?

  • Leaves, grass, fruits, vegetables, coffee grounds, small amounts of meat, unbleached paper, newspaper, untreated cardboard, breads, beer, and other plant derived scraps
  • Some techniques of composting are capable of integrating meat and bones, but currently to reduce pests that could spread disease we are NOT composting large quantities of meat, dairy, or oils at this time. Please contact us for clarification if you’re not sure.

See our composing infographic poster for more details about what compost we can accept.

How can I use compost?

Composting can be used anywhere you grow plants! See our How to Use Compost page for more ideas.

Why is composting important?

  • The USDA reported that in 2010, more than 130 billion pounds of food went to waste. By composting we are taking the food scraps and capturing most of the unused nutrients into rich, fertile compost (USDA).
  • By reducing the amount of waste that sits in landfills we can prevent noxious, smelly gas build up which results in anaerobic micro-organism activity.
  • Creating a fertile, nutrient-rich soil (compost) from waste, saves you money long term by getting full use of your uneaten food scraps.

What can compost do for you?

  • Composting provides healthy soil which is a great addition to any personal or community garden.
  • By recycling your food scraps you reduce the amount of waste which means fewer garbage bags per week.
  • Lighter bags means less chance of rips or tears, it also means that your garbage will not be as smelly.

Resources and further readings…

“Composting for a new generation: Latest techniques for the bin and beyond” by Michelle Balz

“Let it rot! The gardener’s guide to composting” by Stu Campbell

…And many more!