Composting:

Composting and compost:

    -  Composting is a controlled decomposition of organic matter such as kitchen scraps, cardboard,
         paper, yard trimmings or wood shavings to create a humus-rich material called compost.

     -  Composting is an aerobic process that releases some carbon dioxide as a byproduct.

     -  In a landfill, that same organic matter decays in an anaerobic process that releases methane, a

         potent greenhouse gas ~34 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.

        Where would you prefer to put your waste organic matter?

Benefits of compost:

Nutrition:

  • Compost contains a full spectrum of essential plant nutrients.

  • Compost releases its nutrients slowly, providing more consistent nutrition.

  • Compost helps balance the pH of alkaline or acidic soil.

Soil Structure:

  • Compost helps bind soil particles into porous aggregates that hold air, moisture and nutrients.

  •  Compost breaks up tightly bound particles in clay or silt soil allowing air to penetrate and roots to spread.  Compost helps sandy soil retain water and nutrients.

  • Compost alters soil texture and structure decreasing nutrient loss, increasing erosion resistance and making soil easier to work and cultivate.

Beneficial soil life:

  • Compost introduces and feeds diverse life in the soil to create a beneficial microbiome that supports vigorous plant growth and protects your plants from disease and pests, reducing or eliminating the need for chemical fertilizers or pesticides.

Water quality:

  • A 5% increase in organic material quadruples the soil's ability to store water.

  • Compost promotes healthy root growth that absorbs water and decreases runoff.

Please participate and help!

Reduce, Re-use, Recycle!  (see our Food Waste page)

  • The most effective practice you can adopt is to minimize the amount of food that you waste!

  • Reduce:  Over 20% of our landfill volume, agricultural area, water use, and fertilizer use is devoted to producing wasted food (not to mention transportation costs and pollution).

  • Re-use:  Optimal refrigerator use and a little planning for using leftovers can go a long way.

  • Recycle the nutrients in your food waste through composting!

Do it yourself!

  • Make your own compost bin for as little as $10.  Plans can be found here.

  • Buy your own compost bin.  Here are some from Home Depot or from Lowes.

Tips for home composting:

  1. Select the site for your composting project.

    • Properly implemented composting shouldn't smell or attract pests.

  2. Select appropriate food scraps for composting.

    • Don't compost food scraps that will attract pets or wildlife such as meat, fish, or dairy.

    • Great composting materials include fruits, vegetables, grains, rice and coffee grounds.

  3. Focus on the ratios of materials (equal amounts of browns and greens,  with adequate water).

    • Brown dry material such as dead leaves, twigs and paper scraps.

    • Green wet material such as  those mentioned above and grass clippings.

  4. Layer correctly.

    • Start with dry browns on the bottom, then layer greens on top.

    • Alternate these layers, each 1 - 2 inches deep.

    • Top the stack off with a layer of browns to minimize odor.

  5. Wait for the materials to decompose.  In warm weather compost can be ready in 2 - 5 weeks.  Cold weather may slow the composting process by months.

  6. Turn over or rotate the composting material every 7 - 10 days to keep the air flowing and water the material to keep it at the consistency of a damp sponge.

  7. You will know that your compost is ready to add to your garden when it becomes brown and aggregates, becoming crumbly​ when dryer.

Composting provides excellent natural fertilizer that can minimize or eliminate our need for chemical fertilizers and is an excellent way to reduce your contribution to food waste in landfills.

Commercial composting drop-off or pick-up:

  • Locally, Impact Earth provides both composting drop-off or curbside pick-up services:
    (Prices as of 15-April-2021, please check the Impact Earth website for any updates.)

    • Sealed 5-gallon bucket (required) deposit:  $10.  Cost per swap (multiple locations):  $5.
      -  A bucket of compost is available twice a year at compost return events.

    • Curbside pick-up:  Bi-weekly service:  $16/month or $177 ($14.75/mo.) if paid annually.
      Curbside pick-up:  Weekly service:  $25/month or $264 ($22/mo.) if paid annually.
      -  The sealed 5-gallon composting collection bucket comes with the subscription.
      -  Customers can opt-in to have a bucket of compost 
      delivered to them twice a year.

    • For commercial institutions, the cost for swapping a 32-gallon bin starts at $10, a 64-gallon bin starts at $15 and a 96-gallon bin starts at $20.

  • For larger commercial or industrial kitchens, Natural Upcycling provides customized zero-food waste solutions.

  • Waste Management Incorporated provides commercial food waste composting and anaerobic digestion services for St. John Fisher and Nazareth Colleges and the University of Rochester.

Help us to enable composting as a service:

  • Food waste is a very significant fraction of currently collected trash (over 20% by weight).

  • Tipping fees at landfills are by weight.  A 20% reduction in tipping fees can finance a lot.

  • Like recycling, source control can make or break a project.  Education and practice are keys!

  • Please engage with us to see how you can learn more, become involved and help develop our educational material and outreach plans.

New York State Food Donations and Food Scraps Recycling Law:

  • Passed in 2019, as of 1-Jan-2022 will require businesses to properly deal with their food waste.

Resources:

Hands in the Soil
Planting Flowers