Composting involves mixing yard and household organic materials in a pile or bin and providing conditions that encourage decomposition. The decomposition process is fueled by millions of microscopic organisms (bacteria, fungi) that take up residence inside your compost pile, continuously devouring and recycling it to provide a rich and valuable soil amendment. Composting can be done at home or small and large scale commercial facilities. Acceptable materials vary based on the scale of operation.
Why is composting important?
If food waste and other compostable items are not composted, they are managed in a landfill or incinerator. However, when these items are composted they become a useful product that serves as a valuable soil amendment. When compost is added to soil it reduces the need for fertilizers and pesticides and allows for more efficient use of water.
Between 28 and 38 percent of all waste is compostable depending on the type of composting program. An average of 25% of household waste is compostable.
Basic types of organic materials compostable in backyard compost bins include:
- fruit and vegetable trimmings, egg shells, banana peels, bread, rice, houseplants and garden waste.
These additional items can be composted via a commercial facility:
- anything that is plant or animal based including: all items mentioned above plus meat, dairy products, leftovers, and non-recyclable paper (refrigerator/freezer boxes, paper towels, plates, napkins and egg cartons).