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  • Susan Wineland

Composting is Key

What is a small lifestyle change that can have a huge impact? Composting!

Composting is a natural process in which naturally occurring bacteria and fungus in the soil break down to form compost. This nutrient-rich soil amendment enriches garden soil with nutrients and is the very best for all of our plants.


Composting can be successful in almost any setting from indoor bins in condos or apartments, to outdoor open piles or bins of various sizes and types for backyards. There are lots of options when it comes to the kind of composter you might like and you can shop for them in stores or online.

For home composting, you can use eggshells and coffee grounds, shredded newspaper, brown paper bags, unseeded hay, fruit and vegetable scraps (fresh, cooked, frozen, and moldy). By keeping these things out of your garbage disposals, septic systems, and landfills, you are truly making a difference by choosing this environmental approach.

Other things to compost at home are yard prunings, leaves, and grass cutting. Make sure to break yard waste into small pieces before throwing it into a composting heap. Avoid diseased leaves and plants as they may infect your compost and don’t include animal waste. And don’t include meats or dairy as they tend to become foul smelling and might attract animals.


Guidelines for COMPOSTING AT HOME - to Create Rich Soil for Your Garden:




NEW! Composting at the Orange Transfer Station & Recycling Center (aka the Town Dump)

There is a new opportunity to compost in addition to or as an alternative to home composting. Orange residents can now take their compostable material to the town transfer station located at 100 S Orange Center Road. See details about composting at the transfer station.


Items that ARE accepted in the transfer station green composting bins are:

  • Fruits, vegetables, peels, pits

  • Eggs and eggshells

  • Meat and poultry including bones

  • Seafood including shells

  • Coffee grounds and tea bags

  • Rice and grains

  • Baked goods, chips and snacks

  • Pet food


Items that are NOT accepted are: coffee pods, plastic wrap, take out containers, plasticware, paper goods, metal or aluminum foil, jars or glass, pet waste.


Residents may bring food items listed below and dump them directly into one of the 4 green bins marked for composting. For ease, you may put all scraps into a plastic bag then toss the entire bag into the bin - NO NEED to empty the bag first. (We know it sounds odd that plastic bags can be put in with composting, but they can). However, if you’d like to avoid using plastic bags, there are many excellent odor-free kitchen compost bins with lids that store on or under a counter. Taking these small bins to the food scraps containers to the transfer station is easy, mess-free, and they rinse out easily. Or, reuse a container you might have at home such as a pail or light weight pitcher.


Remember, by diverting food scraps to the transfer station, we are not only helping the environment, but also helping save tax payer money (it costs the town less to dispose of compost material than to dispose of material placed in the hopper). Home composters I know (myself included) will take advantage of the transfer station bins as an additional resource, to compost items NOT suitable for home composting (i.e., meat, seafood).


Guidelines for BRINGING COMPOST MATERIALS TO THE TRANSFER STATION

Note: Do NOT take materials from these bins:


Benefits of Composting

Without a doubt, composting provides many benefits: It significantly cuts down on the amount of trash in a landfill and reduces the costs and the carbon emissions it takes to haul and process those materials. Composting adds valuable nutrients back into the soil, enriching it with nutrients, greatly reducing the need for fertilizers and pesticide, and increasing the soil's ability to retain moisture. Compost improves the workability of the soil and plants grow better in this enriched, crumbly soil.


So, however you choose to compost - at home, by bringing compostables to the transfer station, or both - DO compost. It’s the best for all those food waste products that can be so beneficial to soil and keeps them out of landfills where they produce methane gas, a large contributor of air pollution.


For more information, follow facebook.com/ORCinCT


Article originally published in the Milford-Orange Times.

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