WHAT IS COMPOSTING?

Composting is the natural aerobic (with oxygen) decomposition of organic matter into nutrient rich soil. 

Composting is nature's process of recycling decomposed organic materials into a rich soil known as compost. Anything that was once living will decompose. Basically, composting is an acceleration of the same process nature uses. By composting our organic waste, we are returning nutrients back into the soil in order for the cycle of life to continue. Finished compost looks like soil–dark brown, crumbly- and smells like a forest floor.

Composting = Less food in our landfills and more resources back into our soil.

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WHY COMPOST?

“They’re making more people every day—but they ain’t making any more dirt.”Will Rogers

Composting diverts our food scraps from landfills and incinerators.  Our landfills are filling up, leading to longer and longer hauling distances, higher greenhouse gas emissions, higher waste management costs, and less space available for our trash. Composting could cut back our solid waste stream by as much as 33% (epa.gov).

When food scraps are left in a landfill or incinerated they release methane. Methane gas is 20 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide (epa.gov).

Composting is a sustainable alternative that puts the nutrients from our food scraps back into the earth and, eventually, our food system by using the finished compost as a fertilizer for local farms.

Composting is the final step to completing a truly sustainable food cycle system.


WHAT CAN BE COMPOSTED?

Food scraps and leftovers:
Meat, fish, dairy, fruit, vegetables, shells, bones, pasta, rice, eggshells, nutshells, bread, grains.

Food-soiled paper:
Coffee grounds and filters, tea bags, waxed cardboard, soiled paper bags, kitchen paper towels, paper napkins, paper egg cartons, uncoated paper plates.

Plants, flowers and approved compostable packaging:
Plants and flowers, landscape vegetation, weeds, grass clippings, holiday trees, untreated wood scraps.

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COMPOSTING PROCESS:

1.       DELIVERY OF FOOD SCRAPS:  Food scraps collected by Compost Valley are delivered to the Agency’s Organics Recovery Facility

2.       OBTAINING THE RIGHT MIXTURE: Food scraps are mixed with yard waste and mixed into piles to begin composting

3.       AERATION:  Composting process undergoes aeration 

4.       CURING:  Compost udergoes curing process

5.       SCREENING: Compost product is put through a 3/8" screener to create fine and smooth soil

6.       FINISHED PRODUCT:  New soil is made by all the collected compost from your food waste!

Image: Michelle Bergkamp, Recycling Coordinator //  Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency.