At 11%, a significant portion of all garbage is food waste. Composting is a natural process that breaks down organic materials and can greatly reduce what we landfill and incinerate, as well as decrease the amount of food waste that goes down the garbage disposal and adds phosphorus to lakes and rivers.

Leaf texture

Backyard composting is an easy way to turn much of the waste from your yard and kitchen into a rich organic material that you can use to improve your soil. Using finished compost on your lawn and garden will add nutrients, suppress weeds and hold moisture in the soil.

You can compost:

  • vegetable and fruit scraps
  • coffee grounds and coffee filters
  • tea leaves and tea bags
  • egg shells
  • yard waste and more

Home composting tips

  • Keep your compost pile at the right moisture level. If your compost pile has a bad odor, it lacks air circulation or it may be too wet. Try turning the pile with a pitchfork or shovel or adding dry material to the pile.
  • If your compost pile is not heating up, it may need more nitrogen or "green" material. Add grass clippings or a nitrogen fertilizer to the pile.
  • Bury kitchen scraps at least 8 inches deep in the compost pile to discourage critters.
  • You can keep adding to your compost pile as it is composting. However, you may want to start a second pile if you have enough materials.
  • Add a layer of straw or hay to the top of your compost pile in the winter to keep it warm and keep on composting!
  • The best pile is made up of a variety of materials.
  • The smaller the pieces of compost material, the faster the pile will decompose.

For more information on composting food and yard waste, visit from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.


  • Solid Waste Coordinator


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