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Why compost?

We're composting as a waste management strategy. It allows us to use up material that otherwise would go to a landfill.

Composting system at the Green Garage

Food scraps can go into our composting bucket on the kitchen counter. All vegetable and fruit products are allowed as long as they are not covered in a sauce or oil. No meat products can be composted. Coffee grounds (including filter) and spent tea leaves (teabag and all) can go into our composting bucket. We have a food scrap composting/holding container in the backyard next to our compost pile. It looks like a trash can but it's dedicated to food waste so please don't throw garbage in it! For our twigs, leaves, weeds, and other garden wastes, we have a compost pile in the backyard.

We have started a worm composting (vermicomposting) bin in our greenhouse. Our worm population is very small so please don't overfeed them. If you can see pieces of food in the bin, that means the worms already have enough to eat.

Paper towels from our restrooms are being collected separately and composted in our backyard compost pile. They take the place of fall leaves or straw, the "brown" materials that other composters might use. You will notice a white receptacle under the sink(s) in each restroom. Only paper towels that have been used to dry clean hands can be composted! Please do not put anything else (exceptions below) in the white receptacle under the sink.

We are also composting the "compostable" paper cups and their "compostable" plastic lids along with our paper towels in the backyard pile. See the image gallery below for examples of these types of cups. If you have any of these types of cups and lids to compost, please empty out any liquids and place them in the appropriate bin in the kitchen, or in the blue bin with the blue lid in the annex recycling center.

Composting Issues

  • Issue: Temperature required for compostable cups and lids.
    • Kirsten found an article in the Smithsonian that says that PLA plastics (which is what plastic lids are made from) take 10 days to disintegrate at 140 degrees.
    • Ann at Avalon Breads ships their compost to Future Organics, Inc, in Toledo. She says that they are the closest facility that has compost reaching 110 degrees, what she believes is the temp required for the lid to disintegrate.
    • Matt Naimi of Recycle Here says that Green Safe lids require a commercial composter that gets to 90 degrees to break down. He says that 110/140 degree range is what's required for the lids to melt. Matt also sends his compost to Future Organics and another composting facility in Grand Rapids.



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