Compost Bin

About Composting
Composting is a fun and rewarding way to turn unwanted yard and kitchen waste into a valuable, nutrient rich material. Compost is organic material that can be used as a soil amendment or as a medium to grow plants. Mature compost is a stable material with a content called humus that is dark brown or black and has a soil-like, earthy smell. It is created by: combining organic wastes (e.g., yard trimmings, food wastes, manures) in proper ratios into piles, rows, or vessels; adding bulking agents (e.g., wood chips) as necessary to accelerate the breakdown of organic materials; and allowing the finished material to fully stabilize and mature through a curing process.

Natural composting, or biological decomposition, began with the first plants on earth and has been going on ever since. As vegetation falls to the ground, it slowly decays, providing minerals and nutrients needed for plants, animals, and microorganisms. Mature compost, however, includes the production of high temperatures to destroy pathogens and weed seeds that natural decomposition does not destroy.

Benefits of Composting

  • Suppress plant diseases and pests
  • Reduce or eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers
  • Promote higher yields of agricultural crops
  • Facilitate reforestation, wetlands restoration, and habitat revitalization efforts by amending contaminated, compacted, and marginal soils
  • Cost-effectively remediate soils contaminated by hazardous waste
  • Remove solids, oils, grease, and heavy metals from stormwater runoff
  • Capture and destroy 99.6% of industrial volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) in contaminated air
  • Provide cost savings of at least 50% over conventional soil, water, and air pollution remediation technologies, where applicable

What to Compost

  • Animal manure
  • Cardboard rolls
  • Clean paper
  • Coffee grounds & filters
  • Cotton rags
  • Dryer & vacuum cleaner lint
  • Eggshells
  • Fireplace ashes
  • Fruits & vegetables
  • Grass clippings
  • Hair & fur
  • Hay & straw
  • Houseplants
  • Nut shells
  • Sawdust
  • Shredded newspaper
  • Tea bags
  • Wood chips
  • Wool rags
  • Yard trimmings & leaves

What Not to Compost

  • Black walnut tree leaves/twigs- Releases substances that might be harmful to plants
  • Coal or charcoal ash- Might contain substances harmful to plants
  • Dairy products & eggs- Create odor problems & attract pests
  • Diseased plants- Disease or insects might survive & be transferred back to other plants
  • Fats, grease, lard, or oils- Create odor problems & attract pests
  • Meat or fish bones & scraps- Create odor problems & attract pests
  • Pet waste- Might contain parasites, bacteria, germs, pathogens, & viruses harmful to humans
  • Yard trimmings treated with chemicals pesticides- Might kill beneficial composting organisms

Here is a Home Composting Handbook. Feel free to read it on-line or print it.

Listen to a webinar on Composting. 

Also, visit our neighbors in Duluth at WLSSD and watch their video on their terrific food waste composting project and available product - Garden Green Compost - to buy. Here is their version of tips on Composting which include plans to make your own backyard bin.