Organics Collection & Backyard Composting Basics

Backyard Composting Basics

Below are some of the greens and browns that make for a happy compost pile.

Kitchen Organics

Greens Browns
  • All spoiled vegetables and scraps
  • All spoiled fruit and scraps
  • Coffee grounds
  • Tea bags
  • Egg shells (crushed)
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Houseplant cuttings
  • Cut flowers
  • Coffee filters
  • Nut shells
  • Stale bread
  • Brown paper bags shredded
  • Paper towel
  • Napkins

Yard Organics

Greens Browns
  • Grass clippings (no more than a 4 inch layer at a time)
  • Weeds without a seed head
  • Spent flowers and vegetables
  • Hedge clippings
  • Leaves
  • Dried grass clippings
  • Dried weeds
  • Straw and hay
  • Small twigs or branches (mulched)
  • Pine needles in small quantities

Green Cart

(0r Garbage only if there is no curbside organics collection program in your municipality)

The following items are compostable but may draw unwanted pests to your backyard, so they  should be placed in the green cart for organics collection.

  • Meat
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Bones
  • Shellfish
  • Dairy Products
  • Oils and Fats

Compost is beneficial if mixed with garden soil and as a top dress on grass, so it is important that the following materials be avoided:

  • Diseased or insect-infected plants
  • Pet wastes
  • Mature weeds with seeds

    Composting Tips:

    • Cover the greens from your kitchen and garden with browns from the kitchen and garden.
    • Regularly use a pitchfork or other digging tool to mix in newly added green materials.
    • Turning the pile will add air into the pile. Air is needed by the micro-organism to break the pile down properly.
    • Always cover with a layer of browns.
    • By covering the food waste you will minimize fruit fly problems and the occurrence of other pests.
    • Keep the material in the composter about as damp as a wrung out sponge.
    • A composter that is too wet or dry may stop working.
    • The smaller the pieces of organic materials the quicker the materials will turn into compost.
    • By using both materials from the house and yard you should get the right mix of carbon and nitrogen.
    • By adding some finished compost or topsoil to the pile you will introduce organisms that help get the pile working.