Composting in Your Backyard
Cover every bucket of food scraps (“greens”) with three buckets of dried yard debris (“browns”), like leaves, dry grass, sawdust, or chipped wood. Covering food scraps with browns reduces odors and creates a good carbon to nitrogen ratio for soil bacteria and other decomposers to break down the pile.
Once the material has decomposed for months (speed up the process by mixing it once in a while) and cured for a few more months, you can use it as a nutrient boost for your garden. Mature compost looks and smells like dark brown soil.
If you compost in a backyard, the law allows you to throw meat, bones, and grease in the trash (including from seafood). These items don’t break down quickly in small-scale compost systems.
Solar digesters use the sun’s energy to break down food scraps.
You don’t need to add browns, and it IS ok to include meat, bones, and other animal products.
Similar to backyard composting, the law allows you to throw meat, bones, and their fats (including seafood) in the trash if you want.
Solar Digesters decompose waste material almost completely, so you will not end up with finished compost that you can use in your garden.
If you have chickens or pigs, you can feed household scraps to them.
To prevent the spread of diseases, the Agency of Agriculture prohibits feeding pigs food scraps that have touched meat or fish, including their organs, bones, and juices. These regulations do not apply to feeding personal food scraps to pigs that are for personal consumption. To learn more, consult Feeding Food Scraps to Pigs and the Agency of Agriculture’s Guidance on Feeding Food Scraps to Pigs.
Some food scraps from food manufacturing, such as spent brewery grain and whey, can also be fed to animals.
Drop-off composting: You can drop off food scraps and yard debris at any transfer station or bag-drop in Vermont. Many compost facilities also have drop-offs. Consult your local Waste Management District or town or our Materials Management Map to learn about services in your area.
Who’s Hauling Food Scraps? | Rutland County Waste Haulers
Curbside pick-up: Ask your hauler if they offer food scrap pick-up, or find a hauler on the statewide list of food scrap haulers. In Vermont, hauling food scraps for a fee requires a state hauler permit. If you live in bear country, check out these tips for keeping bears away from food scrap containers. Many of these tips will help keep bears away from garbage too.
Community Food Scrap Share Program
The Solid Waste Alliance Communities, Rutland County Solid Waste District, and 350 Rutland County are pleased to announce the roll out of the Community Food Scrap Share Program. This spring, over 285 people participated in our Composting 101 Workshops. As an offshoot of this educational project, we have created a community share platform after identifying the need for further opportunities for communities to divert food scraps from the trash.
Are you unsure how to divert your food scraps from the trash? Anyone that wishes to donate food scraps to be handled elsewhere can register with contact information and town name, giving a food scrap receiver the opportunity to make contact.
Food scrap receivers (home composters or farmers with animals) can register with contact information and town name, giving a food scrap donor the opportunity to make contact. They can also request, accept and use additional food scraps from neighbors, develop their own systems for drop off, and potentially share in surplus amounts of finished compost in the future.
This project is a win/win on many levels. It builds community, keeps food scraps out of the landfill, and diminishes the amount of scraps that the transfer stations need to have hauled to an industrial compost facility. And it ensures the creation of additional soil and food that will increase our local food security.
Do you need another option to divert your food scraps from the trash? Want more food scraps to make soil or feed animals? Your neighbors may be able to help you out!
How to Donate Food | Vermont Food Bank | Food Bank Locator