Food scraps make up one third of a typical household’s trash. When food scraps are sent to the landfill, they take up space in our limited landfills and contribute to the increased production of methane and toxic leachate. If all of the food scraps in Vermont were diverted from the landfill by composting, it would offset the same amount of carbon as not burning 12 million gallons of gasoline every year!
Home Composting Systems
There are many different types of home composting systems. These include:
- Worm composting, also known as vermicomposting or vermiculture, is an inexpensive way to acquire an incredibly rich and fertile soil amendment for your garden and house plants. Worms will feed on the bacteria and fungi that are feeding on your food scraps and bedding waste. The worm castings (or worm poop) that they excrete is biologically active, nutrient rich, and contains microbes that are capable of suppressing plant diseases.
- Compost bin systems
- Passive compost system (“Pile it and Forget it”)
Practical Guides for Composting at Home
- Composting at Home in 6 Easy Steps [CSWD]
- What to Compost – Fridge Magnet or Printable
- What to Compost – Compost Separation Poster
- Composting Q & A [Word Doc]
- A Guide to Home Composting
- Hot Compost Bin System
Vermicomposting at Home
Pros and Cons of Composting at Home
One of the biggest benefits of composting at home is that it enables you to meet your own goals for keeping organics out of the landfill. You have control over the process; most people find it very convenient as you can compost on your own schedule in your own style (as long as you remember to add enough carbon)! If you are composting at home, you are also allowed to put meat, bones and grease in your landfill-bound trash. While these items can be safely diverted to a hot composting system, many home composters struggle with consistently getting temperatures above 131 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the temperature for reducing pathogens.
Some of the challenges include (1) knowledge of how to manage a home compost system so that it doesn’t stink or attract animals; (2) space for a composter and carbon storage; and (3) time.
Resources and Information
Rules and Regulations for Composting at Home
There are no specific rules or regulations for composting at home, but what you need to pay attention to are any set-backs from neighboring properties or waterways. This said, being a good neighbor is important! When composting at home, be sure to cover your food scraps with carbon to limit smells and reduce the likelihood of attracting animals to your pile.
Be sure to take advantage of the extensive opportunities for free training. You can learn more through your solid waste management entity (SWME). Find your SWME at 802recycles.com.
Composting Outside of the Home
Not everyone has the space, resources, or time to compost at home. Instead, you may want to separate your food scraps from the rest of your waste and drop them off at a local transfer or recycling center. Check-out this guide to learn more about separating your food scraps for industrial composting. Depending on your location, you may even be able to access curbside pickup for your food scraps! Check out this list to see what is available in your area!