Composting Methods

There are several options available for people that wish to try their hand at composting. The primary methods of composting described are hot composting cool composting, and vermicomposting. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is up to you to decide what method works best for your situation.

Food Scraps

Unlike yard waste composting sites, which do not accept food scraps, hot composting, cool composting, and vermicomposting are some of the best ways to get rid of food scraps (and to have a positive impact upon the environment). By composting your food scraps instead of throwing them away in the garbage, you are helping reduce the total amount of materials being sent to the landfill, and having the added benefit of making your very own inexpensive form of fertilizer.

The best way to incorporate food scraps into your compost pile is to bury the scraps approximately 8 to 10 inches into the center of the material, and then cover it with brown material. This method should reduce the odor, and keep unwanted pests away. To speed up the composting process, it is best to break down these items into smaller pieces as this will provide more surface area for the microbes to work.

Acceptable & Unacceptable Items

Even though a wide variety of food scraps are excellent for composting, there are several items that you should avoid putting in your compost pile. View a list of some of the common acceptable and unacceptable food items for your compost pile:

Acceptable Food Items:

  • Coffee grounds and paper filters
  • Eggshells
  • Fruits: including peels, rinds, and cores
  • Tea leaves and bags without staples or sticks
  • Vegetables: including pumpkin shells, and onion skins

Unacceptable Food Items (Many of these ingredients are acceptable for larger-scale composting programs, but home composting does not create the conditions necessary to successfully compost them without odor or pest problems):

  • Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, sour cream, butter, sauces, or food containing these, etc.
  • Foods containing oils or fats such as peanut butter, salad dressing, mayonnaise, margarine, cooking oil, and a wide variety of sauces
  • Meat, poultry, fish, lard, any type of bones fertilizer