MONTPELIER — Composting food scraps in the back yard has always been simple. It invites the composter to choose from a basic mound in the back yard, to a pre-made compost container, to a wood and wire bin, to the more complex yet still simple worm composting. Winter composting is just as easy as in warmer months; just add a tarp or cover to the compost bin and keep on adding material.
By setting aside food scraps and yard waste and combining it either into a container or a pile, anyone can compost.
Those who want to delve deeper can create “recipes” and formulas for the perfect compost, but for most people it’s just a matter of tossing organic matter into a pile and letting it naturally decompose; turn it every now and then and add a layer of leaves or shredded cardboard, and the process will happen faster. But you can just leave it, and eventually it will turn into that beautiful rich soil that aficionados call “black gold.”
The Central Vermont Solid Waste Management District has been supporting back yard composting for decades. It sells Soil Savers at cost as well as Green Cones, which are designed to handle meat, fish, bones, dairy as well as pet waste; while Green Cones don’t create a final compost product, they do act as powerful “fertilizer sticks” as materials decompose underground.
CVSWMD also educates back yard composters by answering questions in person and by phone, providing materials that explain the process, and by posting easy to build bins and plans. CVSWMD staff is available five days a week to trouble shoot any problems or questions people have about composting.
“We rarely get a call about composting problems,” said Program Manager Collin O’Neil. “More often people stop in to pick up a composter or plans for building their own. Often this is a good time to go over any questions about how to compost and what to expect. The process is easy and tidy, so most people can do it without any complications.”
Soil Saver sales used to slow down over the winter, but CVSWMD General Manager Leesa Stewart reports an uptick in winter sales this year.
“Throughout December we had so many people come in to buy Soil Savers that we actually ran out and had to re-stock mid-month, something that’s never happened before,” she said. “People are really catching on that they can create a useful product out of their food scraps, winter, spring, summer and fall.”
CVSWMD has created another option for those who want to compost, but who don’t have the space: a residential composting pilot project. People can drop off food scraps for free at DJ’s convenience store at 56 River St. in Montpelier, or at its ARCC (Additional Recyclables Collection Center) at 3 Williams Lane, Barre. Residential composting drop offs are also in place in Hardwick at All Metals Recycling and in the parking lot between Brochu’s Citgo and the Center for Agricultural Economy building on Mill Street. Go to www.cvswmd.org for dates and times.
For a list of compost bin plans and a composting guide, go to: http://www.cvswmd.org/home-composting.html or call CVSWMD at 229-9383 with any questions.
Cassandra Hemenway Brush is the Zero Waste outreach coordinator at the Central Vermont Solid Waste Management District. Email her with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.MORE IN Central Vermont
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