Composting can be as simple as dumping food scraps in a pile and letting bacteria and bugs go at them, or it can be as sophisticated as building layers of ‘green’ and ‘brown’ organic matter that are maintained to a precise temperature and humidity for fast decomposition. Either way, the finished compost is  great for your yard and great for the environment.  What are the benefits?

  • Separating out the food scraps reduces most of the smell and the number of bags of trash you throw out.
  • By spreading the compost onto your grass and plants, you are helping them become healthier. Healthier plants can weather dry spells and pests better.
  • Less organic materials in a landfill means less methane gas produced–less smell, less carbon footprint.

Not up to the idea of composting yourself? Don’t have the outdoor space? There are alternatives–look below for some options.

What is compost?

Compost is a dark, nearly odorless matter produced through the controlled decomposition of organic materials, both plant and animal. It is an essential component of the soil used for supporting plant life. In addition to nutrients nutrients, compost provides aeration, moisture retention, and a biodiversity of microorganisms that enrich plant growth. It also helps prevent soil erosion.

What is composting?

Composting is a method of controlled decomposition of organic materials to produce compost. Through various composting techniques, we can compost faster than may occur naturally, with few odors, and without attracting unwanted pests. The basic way to compost is to put layers of ‘greens’ (food scraps, green grass clippings, fresh manure) and ‘browns’ (dry leaves, brown grass clippings, dirty paper) into the compost bin. Start with a layer of born and cover each layer of green with more brown. This will help reduce unwanted critters and smells. More detailed information on composting is available through the Environmental Protection Agency and the City of Newton.

Where can I get a composting bin?

It is not difficult to build your own composting bin and instructions are available on the internet. Also, any different types of composting bins are available for sale in stores and on the internet. Here in Newton, the city offers two styles of composting bins plus kitchen scrap collection buckets. For more info visit the Newton DPW website.

To purchase a bin, Newton residents can stop by City Hall during open hours (cash and personal checks only). Once purchased, you will receive a receipt and you will pick up your bin at the Rumford Ave Resource Recovery Facility in Auburndale. Check out the Brave New Composter, $55, plus tax and Earth Machine, $43, plus tax.

How can I compost if I live in an apartment?

If you don’t have space outdoors for a compost pile, you can build one indoors in a plastic bin with composting worms and shredded newspaper. Done correctly, there is no smell and you will reap worm castings which are beneficial to plants. You can get more information on building and maintaining a vermicomposting bin from the EPA website.

Where can I find a composting service for my home?

The following services will provide compost buckets each week and pick them up leaving a fresh one for the following week. Click HERE for a list.

Here is a recent Washington Post article on the benefits of composting.