Composting 101

Composting is the act of recycling food- and yard waste, which creates nutrient-rich, robust soil. To compost is to create the conditions for organic waste—dead plants and food scraps—to decompose and return to the soil.

Though proportions vary, the general recipe for compost is:

Organic matter + water, air, carbon- and nitrogen-rich materials, worms, fungi, aerobic bacteria + time

This is what it looks like:

Types of Composting

Food- and yard waste can be composted at home and some cities send this waste to an industrial composting facility for processing.

Home Composting

In home composting, food- and yard waste are piled in the yard and left to break down, or a worm bin is used.


Learn more about how to compost at home at the US government's Environmental Protection Agency's website–click here.

Industrial Composting

Industrial composting facilities process many kinds of waste, from food-, yard-, and animal-waste, to wastewater and “biosolids” (think toilet flushes). The process of industrial composting varies at every facility. One local facility’s process is described below.

From Your Curb and Back to Your Garden




Why Compost?

Composting has many environmental benefits!

It Reduces the Amount of New Pollution
  • Less waste winds up in landfills
  • Less methane gets emitted because less waste is going to landfills (methane is a major contributor to climate change)







It Helps Plants Grow Better
  • Soil with compost is more nutritious and holds water better
  • Soil with compost has more microbes, which makes for healthier soil and protects plants from disease

It Makes for a Safer Environment
  • Soil with compost needs less watering, fertilizer, and pesticides
  • Soil with compost reduces erosion, decreasing the potential for landslides


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