Compost Kitchen Waste + Yard Trim
Compost is the foundation of a healthy, sustainable lawn and garden.
There’s gold in your garbage! Black gold, that is. All of your non-meat food waste — from coffee grounds and eggshells to vegetable scraps, pasta and bread — and much of your lawn waste, can be turned into rich compost for your lawn and garden. It’s easy to do and saves money on fertilizers and other amendments.
Much of the 1,606 pounds of garbage each person creates every year (2013 EPA estimate) is organic and can be composted, saving space in landfills and keeping our waste water cleaner and easier to purify. All you need is a small, 3’x3’ corner of your yard.
To compost food waste, Montgomery County requires a rodent proof compost bin. The County provides free compost bins for yard trim, but not one approved for food waste.
- Learn the basics of composting from the EPA.
- Get tips for composting here.
- Read articles on a host of basic to advanced composting topics from Rodale’s Organic Life.
- Learn about vermicomposting, a composting method using worms to speed up the process.
- Learn what to compost and not compost.
- Learn how to make compost using all the right materials.
Get a free compost bin from Montgomery County. Find out where to go to pick up a free compost bin and whether they have them in stock. The County does not deliver compost bins.
To compost food waste, Montgomery County requires a rodent proof compost bin. The County provided compost bins are for yard trim and leaves, but not one approved for food waste.
What about rodents getting into my compost bin?
Montgomery County requires a rodent proof bin for composting food waste. Therefore, rodents shouldn’t be a problem.
If you are reading this from outside the County, here is our advice.
The most important step to keep vermin out of your compost is never to put meat or meat byproducts (oils, fat) in your compost pile. A properly blended compost pile will have few rodent problems.
If you do have a problem that bothers you, follow these simple steps. First, bury the bottom lip of the bin under the soil surface. Second, keep all lids and doors (if your bin has them) securely fastened and/or locked (some thieves like raccoons, can easily work latches). Third, when adding food scraps, make a depression in the middle of the pile and cover the scraps with other non-food material.
If at all possible, avoid using poisons as a means of control; instead, try predator urine, used kitty litter, hot pepper wax, or peppermint extract. As a last resort, purchase a few humane rodent traps that allow for release elsewhere.
What are some of the benefits of composting?
Compost is the single best way to improve the overall health of your soil, and thereby anything you want to grow in it. Working compost into your garden beds improves soil “tilth,” its overall structure and key to its water holding/drainage abilty. It reduces need for watering, fertilizers, and pesticides, which helps you save money at the garden center and keeps chemical inputs out of our streams and the Chesapeake Bay.
Composting also diverts organic material from landfills, helping reduce resources needed by trash truck and waste facilities. And, if you have a septic system, removing solids from your drain and avoiding the garbage disposal may help protect your system from damage.