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Compost FAQs

What can I compost?

As a rule of thumb, anything plant based can be put into the compost bins. This includes all vegetable and fruit trimmings, coffee and tea grounds, nonwaxy paper (newspaper, notebook paper), and spoiled vegetables and fruit (both cooked and raw). Egg shells can also be put into the compost (they are a great source of calcium for the soil). Please do not put any meats or oil in the compost; while they do break down, they give off odor and attract vermin while doing so. Here's a list of 75 things you can compost, but thought you couldn’t.

How is compost made?

Composting is an aerobic microbial process. Microorganisms found in the air and soil use enzymatic and metabolic processes to degrade organic matter into simple compounds. Compost converts your apple core, banana peel, pizza crust, etc. into a brown, odorless, soil-like material called humus (not to be confused with hummus). The composting process makes nutrients in the organic matter more available for plants. The microbial metabolism also generates heat during composting, which kills pathogens and sanitizes compost.

Why compost food waste?

Food waste is a pervasive waste produced in almost every household kitchen. The majority of this food waste is currently sent to landfills where it breaks down anaerobically and produces methane gas. Landfill methane can be emitted to the atmosphere where it is a potent greenhouse gas. Household food waste can also be sent to the sewer via in-sink food disposals. However, at the wastewater treatment plant, treating this additional load from food waste consumes a large amount of energy. In both landfills and wastewater treatment plants, valuable nutrients in the food waste are lost. Composting diverts food waste from its current fate, while recovering these nutrients as a soil amendment.

Why is compost beneficial?

Compost is a nutrient-rich, organic soil amendment. Organic matter is one of the most important components of healthy soil. It helps soil to retain moisture, acts as a growth medium for beneficial microorganisms, loosens soil to aid in aeration, and provides essential nutrients for plant growth. A healthy garden begins with healthy soil.