Compost forms as a result of the natural breakdown of organic material into fine particles by bacteria, fungi, insects and animals which live in soil.
As these organisms break down waste they generate heat, which is why compost heaps often feel warm and can sometimes even be seen steaming in cold weather.
The average person throws away seven times their own body weight in waste every year. About 25% of the contents of your bin is kitchen and garden waste. These are organic materials that end up in landfill sites where they cause polluting gases.
Composting is a natural method of both waste disposal and soil fertilisation. Once made, compost can be used to fertilise soil and give it a better structure and moisture retaining properties. It can also be used as mulch in order to reduce the growth of weeds.
Organic materials in landfill are a major source of methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more active than CFC's in causing global warming, and also of a black liquid called 'leachate,' which can contaminate water supplies.
Because it is an alternative to peat, the use of compost can also help to prevent damage to the peat bogs, which are vitally important homes for a wide range of wildlife.
One third of what New Yorkers throw away is yard waste and food scraps, also known as organics. We now provide organics collection services so we can help eliminate rats and roaches from your kitchens while creating soil or renewable energy.
- Cooked, baked and otherwise prepared foods
- Cereal, flour, grains, pasta, and rice
- Spoiled and expired food
- Eggs and eggshells
- Dairy products
- Meat, fish, bones, seafood shells
- Nuts, seeds, pits, and shells
- Coffee grounds and tea leaves
Food-Soiled Paper (Uncoated)
- Paper towels and napkins
- Paper plates
- Paper coffee filters and tea bags
- Paper bags
- Uncoated food service paper trays and boxes
- Any other food-soiled paper
Leaf and Yard Waste
- Grass clippings
- Garden trimmings
- Plants and flowers
- Potting soil
Download our list of Everyday Items to Compost here
Yard and food waste make up over a quarter of all the garbage going into American landfills. Composting will change that.
In most of the world, including North America, we do one of two things with our ordinary garbage: burn it or bury it. Neither one is good for us or for the environment. Burning garbage in incinerators releases dangerous gases and dust (particulate matter) which contribute to global warming and pollute lakes, forests, oceans and cities half a world away from where they originated. Most incinerators in industrialized countries now remove large quantities of particles and pollutants, thus ensuring cleaner air. But the bulk of what they remove ends up in a landfill.
This site concentrates on landfills, in part because this improvement in incinerator technology has increased the pressure on landfills, and in part because a much higher proportion of garbage in North America is sent to landfills than to incinerators.
Burying garbage also causes both air and water pollution, and simply transporting it to the sites consumes an increasing amount of valuable fossil fuels, which produces more pollution and other problems.