composting

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Composting or "recycling" our own yard, garden and kitchen materials is the easiest and cheapest way of taking responsibility for some of our own waste. Did you know that food and yard materials make up 25% to 30% of our solid wastes nationwide?

Compost is a rich and crumbly blend of partially decomposed organic material that does great things for our gardens, houseplants and lawns. It forms a dark brown, soil-like material, rich in plant nutrients. Composting meets the criteria of the three R's: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Through composting, the amount of waste sent to the landfill is Reduced, the organic matter is Reused, and it is Recycled into a useful soil amendment.

                           Home Composter bin and kitchen compost pail
                                              (photos NOT to scale)

Purchase a Home Composter bin or kitchen pail:
Compost bins and pails are available for purchase year-round at the Marathon County Solid Waste Department Office, the same location as the landfill.

Please call at least 24 hours in advance to place an order 715-446-3101 ext.100.       Bin $53       Pail $25

Why PURCHASE one of our COMPOST bins?

The Home Composter bin is made of 100% recycled material.
It is sturdy and lightweight but holds 17 cubic feet* of material! The lid is wide, lockable, and detachable, making it very easy to add and remove material.  The sliding doors at the bottom of each side piece allow for an up-close look at the breakdown process towards the bottom of your pile.  The Home Composter makes it easy for anyone to get started with composting in their backyard!  *actual size is approx. 30" tall x 32" wide

And why the kitchen pail?

The kitchen compost pails that we sell have a charcoal filter to naturally trap in odors and, as a result, prevent fruit flies and other pests.  Made of stainless steel, it is so easy to clean, retains no odor or color, and should never chip or crack.  It has a capacity of 1.3 gallons and because of its sleek design can match any kitchen.  Collecting kitchen scraps to take out to your compost bin couldn't be any easier!   

Composting Information & Resources

Today, we have many environmental issues to consider and sometimes we wonder "What can I do as an individual to contribute to the solution?" or "What did I do to help cause the problem?"

Back Yard Composting Video

Every day we make decisions; how we dispose of our household waste, deciding on what types of products to buy (recyclable, made from recycled content, small amounts with more packaging, large quantities with less packaging), should we take the car, car pool or possibly walk to our destination.

Home composting is an easy step for each of us to take to begin the process. It takes about 10-20 minutes per week, uses a small amount of yard space and provides us with a opportunity to get rid of something we have so much of (kitchen scraps and yard debris) and create something of greater value (compost).

Did you attend a composting workshop or event in Marathon County recently?  Here is a link to the presentation!

Back Yard Composting Basics Flyer

Where do we start? in our own back yards!

Grass Cycling:

Grasscycling simply means leave the clippings fall where they may. Grasscycling contributes to a healthy lawn by returning nitrogen (about 20% - 40%) and other nutrients to the soil. Clippings break down in about 7 to 14 days. They act as top dressing fertilizer and help keep your lawn green and healthy. Grasscycling also helps the soil hold more water and resist erosion. Best of all, grasscycling saves time! 

HINTS FOR PRACTICING "GRASSCYCLING":

  • Mow often and cut less than 1/3 of the grass growth when mowing. 
  • Mow when conditions are dry. 
  • Use a sharp mower blade. 
  • Avoid overuse of harsh chemical and fertilizers. 
  • Water your lawn less frequently, but for long periods of time. 
  • Mulching mowers that grind grass clippings can be used, but are not necessary. 

When grasscycling is done well, you don't notice the clippings - only the results. Your lawn looks neat and well groomed. 

OTHER USES:

  • Use as surface mulch around vegetables or flowers to inhibit weed growth and retain soil moisture. Keep at least 2" away from young plants to avoid "burning" the new growth.
  • Put grass clippings in your compost pile to add extra nutrients. 

Recipes for composting:

SHOPPING LIST:

  • Green yard waste: grass clippings & weeds.
  • Brown yard waste: leaves, small brush, & twigs.
  • Worms

LAZY PERSON'S COMPOST:

Ingredients: green and brown yard waste, water as needed.

Directions:

  • In a heap, layer your yard waste as it accumulates. For faster composting, chip it up first.
  • Water so compost is kept as moist as a wrung-out sponge.
  • In a year to 18 months, the material at the bottom and center of the pile will be dark, crumbly compost. Sift, and use the uncomposted material to start a new batch.

FAST COMPOST:

Ingredients: green and brown yard waste, water as needed.

Directions:

  • Mix one part green yard waste with two parts brown to form a pile (an average size is 4' x 4' x 4.' For fast composting, chop it up first with a hoe or lawn mower.
  • Mix in one inch of soil
  • Keep the pile as moist as a wrung-out sponge
  • Turn the pile every week to let air in
  • Finished compost will take between 4 weeks and 1 year, depending on how often you turn it and how well you maintain the moisture of the pile.

 

What can be composted:

  • Grass clippings 
  • Leaves
  • Weeds
  • Garden debris 
  • Twigs 
  • Small brush
  • Sawdust 
  • Wood chips 
  • Egg shells 
  • Coffee Grounds 
  • Tea leaves / bags 
  • Hay 
  • Manure from herbivores (plant eaters)
  • Paper
  • Fur and hair 
  • Natural fibers and feathers 
  • Food scraps (only if buried)  

What Not to compost:

  • Meat, bones or fat 
  • Persistent weeds 
  • Whole branches or logs 
  • Thorny branches 
  • Charcoal briquette ash 
  • Sawdust from treated wood 
  • Dairy products 
  • Oils - cooking & salad 
  • Pet or human waste
  • Diseased plants (unless fast composted)