Recycle your food scraps to create compost! Composting is the controlled management of the decomposition of organic material so that it becomes a nutrient-rich soil amendment that helps plants thrive.

Benefits of Composting:

  • Reduces organic waste that goes to a landfill, reducing greenhouse gases.
  • Finished compost helps improve the health of the soil and serves as a natural fertilizer.
  • Compost helps retain moisture for growing garden and landscaping plants

Backyard Composting Basics:

To compost in your backyard, you only need a few materials to get started. A compost bin, a container to collect your food scraps in the kitchen, and a tool to circulate the air in the compost pile.



What Goes Into Backyard Compost Bins:

Greens: (Nitrogen rich materials)
Food scraps from peeling and chopping vegetables and fruit, coffee grounds, egg shells, tea bags, grass clippings

Browns: (Carbon rich materials)
Shredded newspaper, paper napkins, coffee filters, dried brown leaves, cardboard- cut into smaller pieces

What Stays Out:
Food cooked in oil or grease, pet waste, cheese, milk, meat, fish, bones, barbeque ashes, Black walnuts or Black walnut tree debris
Anything with toxic pesticides or herbicides
Any diseased plants from the garden
Coffee cups, Dixie cups, plastic, recyclables




Do’s and Don’ts of Backyard Composting

  • DO chop materials into smaller pieces to speed up decomposition
  • DO make sure you layer browns and greens, so that the materials don’t smell while decomposing
  • DO turn and circulate air in your compost materials with a compost aerator or shovel
  • DON’T put in weeds that have gone to seed.
  • DO keep your compost materials moist, but not very wet
  • DO add already finished compost or a compost accelerator can be mixed into the pile to accelerate decomposition
  • DO always maintain with a top layer of browns
  • DO keep ratio at approximately 3 parts browns to 2 parts greens




Additional types of composting:


Vermiculture or vermicomposting is a type of composting system that uses a special type of worm and “bedding”  to decompose your food waste. This requires the purchase of special worms, usually Red Wigglers (Eisenia foetida) or Red Earthworms (Lumbricus rubellus) (not the ones in your backyard) and an enclosed but aerated container. Their worm poop, referred to as “vermi-compost”, or worm castings dramatically improve the health of the soil, as the worms convert nutrients into a more available food form for plants. Food scraps and yard clippings make great food for the worms. Keep out all greasy and oily foods, meat and dairy. Their bedding needs to have a neutral PH, be free from anything sharp or abrasive, retain moisture and allow for the flow of oxygen. The worms love bedding material made from shredded newspaper, dried leaves, and straw. Bedding is kept damp but not soggy.



Bokashi  is an indoor method of making compost through fermentation. This type of composting relies on anaerobic processing which requires the purchase of a bran that has been inoculated with beneficial microbes. Enclosed air tight containers are used create the anaerobic environment, and the leachate needs to be drawn off. Meat and dairy may be included in the scraps added.

Visit the Sustainable JC Website for more information about upcoming Bokashi workshops.