Keep waste from going to waste


The EPA estimates more than 30% of what we throw away is made up of food scraps and yard waste, and could have been composted. Compost is an organic material that can be made right at home using food scraps, yard waste and water. Add it to the soil to help plants grow. Join this at-home recycling initiative, it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!

Compost requires three basic ingredients: browns, greens and water. Browns are materials such as dead leaves, branches and twigs. Greens are grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps and coffee grounds. The ideal compost is made up of an equal number of browns and greens. The brown materials provide carbon for your compost, the greens provide nitrogen, and the water provides moisture to help break down the organic matter.

Meat, bones, dairy products and oily foods should not be added to compost. These items can cause a compost pile to smell badly and attract unwanted pests to the area like racoons and flies. Pet waste should never be added due to the bacteria and potential parasites that can grow and be harmful to humans. Treated wood and plants that have been exposed to pesticides and herbicides should not be added to compost as they can unintentionally kill the organisms that are completing the composting process.

There are many ways to start an at-home compost pile. Composting is a great way to enrich the soil, limit plant diseases, reduce the need for fertilizer and helps save landfill space. Check out for more information on composting at home.

Starting your own compost pile or bin is a great way to enrich your soil without chemical fertilizers and recycle fruit and vegetable scraps. To learn more about the work of the Delaware Soil and Water Conservation District, please visit our website at or call us at 740-368-1921.

By Sarah Kidd

Delaware Soil & Water Conservation District

Sarah Kidd is the communications & outreach coordinator at the Delaware Soil & Water Conservation District. For information, go to

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