If you find composting in the winter less enjoyable than the rest of the year but want to keep food scraps out of your trash can all year-long, the our drop-off program may be exactly right for you! Your food scraps are accepted at all six LRSWMD drop-off locationfor a minimum of $1 up to 5 gallons. Meat, bones, grease, dairy and seafood items are acceptable in this collection. To see the complete list of what is and is not acceptable, click here.
Compost Bins available for purchase at most LRSWMD locations
$10 Countertop Collectors
$50 Soil Saver Compost Bins
$15 Lamoille Soil Collection Kits
$115 Green Cones
Replacement carbon filters 3-packs only $8 (available at the Morrisville office only)
Misc parts available in limited quantities
BENEFITS OF COMPOSTING
According to the "Better Gardening Bulletin" circulated by Gardener's Supply Company:
"Backyard composting takes advantage of the natural cycle of plants living, dying, and then decomposing to pass their vitality to new generations of plants. The end product - compost - is a tremendous source of nutrients for plants that also dramatically improves the texture and fertility of your soil."
Some of the benefits of composting listed in the publication include:
- Improvement of soil structure, texture, and aeration
- Increases water holding capacity
- Grows stronger, deeper-rooted, drought and disease resistance plants
- Adds beneficial organisms to the soil to make nutrients more available to plants
WHAT DO I DO WITH MY MEAT AND BONES ONCE THE FOOD SCRAP BAN GOES INTO EFFECT ACROSS VERMONT IN 2020?
Residents are not required to separate meat and bones from trash if they compost food scraps at home; therefore, they could toss these items in the trash but you can now bring these tough-to-backyard-compost scraps to any LRSWMD drop-off location. While composting of meat and bones rather than landfilling them is strongly encourage, it is not a requirement under Act 148. See "Composting Options" below.
HOW DO I COMPOST IN THE WINTER IN VERMONT?
It’s okay to continue to add food scraps to a compost pile all winter. The compost pile will usually decompose at a much slower rate in the winter but will speed up again in the warmth of spring.
When you set up your bin, consider how much snow you get and how much shoveling you want to do to get to the bin all year long. If you continue to add food scraps directly to your pile during the winter, be sure to cover those greens with browns to minimize nuisance attraction and odors.
It is possible to store food scraps outside in covered pails if you can’t get to your pile during the winter. Sawdust or compost added to the bottom of the container will help to absorb the liquid during thaws. The containers can then be added to the pile in the spring with brown material at a ratio of 2:1.
You can now bring your food scraps to an LRSWMD transfer station if you do not want to backyard compost throughout the winter!
MY PILE ISN'T DECOMPOSING?
Backyard piles are commonly too dry. The compost should be as damp as a wrung out sponge when squeezed in your fist. Too much brown material can increase the likeliness of having a dry pile also. Try turning the pile and adding green materials and water. Regular aeration with a pitch fork or pile aerator can be helpful in assiting the decompsition process.
CAN I COMPOST KITTY LITTER?
Certain brands of kitty litter lend it to more easily be composted. “The best choices for compostable cat litters are those made from natural, living sources…. Another good option for an earth-friendly and compostable cat-litter is a commercially produced litter made from pine or cedar.”
Ultimately, it’s up to your level of comfort on how much of your kitty waste you compost, what process you use to compost it, and how you use the finished compost. Here are some websites with different perspectives while support keeping the used litter out of the landfill:
ALTERNATIVE COMPOSTING OPTIONS
GREEN CONE: A Green Cone digester should need very little maintenance. It is important to ensure that the top of the basket and the bottom lip of the outer green cone are below ground level and always fully covered with soil. In a well operating Green Gone very little waste residue will be produced. Should the reside build-up to the ground level and not decrease, the upper cones can be removed to access the basket to empty the residue which can be added to your backyard bin to finish composting.
You must sprinkle the provided accelerator powder on the food waste for the first 5-6 times you empty food into the Cone. This will help build up a healthy amount of bacteria to start your Cone working. If you see blue-grey “fur” (mold) growing on the food waste inside your Cone and it does not smell – it is working! You should see this “fur” start to build up over the first 10-14 days. While you can see the mold you do not add accelerator powder; when the level of the mold starts to disappear (during the colder months), add some powder.
1.5 gallons of food scraps can be added daily in the summer and every 2-3 days in the winter. For an average family of four, the basket should only need emptying every 2-3 years. The residue can be dug into any suitable area of ground or added to a backyard bin. Make sure the lid and the green outer cone are kept clean and free from any food waste. Do not spill food waste on the ground around the cone as this could attract animals. The Green Cone is NOT a composter and will NOT handle large amounts of garden waste and does NOT produce compost.
VERMICOMPOST: As defined by the EPA, vermicomposting is a method of composting using a special kind of earthworm known as a Red Wiggler (Elsenia fetida), which eats its weight in organic matter each day. Vermicomposting is typically done in a covered container with a bedding of dirt, newspaper, or leaves. Fruit and vegetable scraps can then be added as food for the worms. Over time, the food will be replaced with worm droppings, a rich brown matter that is an excellent natural plant food. Vermicomposting requires less space than normal composting methods and is therefore, ideal for classrooms, apartments, and high-density urban areas. Here is one of many websites to answer more questions: http://whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/compost/Redwormsedit.htm
BOKASHI: Bokashi is a Japanese term meaning "fermented organic matter." The compost process will create a "pre-compost", pickled mixture of your kitchen scraps - including meats, bones, fats, and dairy products. Bokashi is an anaerobic process that takes place in a tightly lidded bucket. Many commerical buckets are available but not necessary. Be sure whatever vessel you are using is able to be easily drained; a spigot at the bottom of the bucket is the most convenient. Layer the bucket with your kitchen scraps and bokashi powder, a bran-based powder that is incoulated with benefical bacteria, until the bucket is full. Once the bucket is full, seal the bucket for about 2-3 weeks. During this time, be sure to drain off the liquid every 1-2 days and dilute it 30:1 for watering plants with a compost tea. You can also dump it directly down your drain at full strength if you have a septic system. The microbes present in the liquid will help the keep your septic tank happy! After the 2-3 weeks, combine the fermented food scraps with soil, in the ground or in a pot, and let it lie dormant for about a month. The pre-compost directly out of the bucket is highly acidic and needs the soil microbes to balance it out before plant roots can safely grow in it. This is a really helpful webiste for all things Bokashi: http://www.planetnatural.com/composter-connection/indoor-composting/bokashi-composting/