By Jason Giovannetonne, Climate and Sustainability Director 

The next step when beginning a compost pile is to gather the materials that will be used to create the compost pile.  Four components are required to make a basic compost pile: greens, browns, water, and air.  Greens consist of moist and fresh kitchen scraps, which are a rich source of nitrogen.  Browns consist of dry leaves and twigs that provide the required carbon.  The microorganisms that break these materials down into soil require a balanced diet of nitrogen for protein and carbon for energy.  The ideal mix is to add twice as much brown material as green. Then layer them like lasagna.  To minimize odor and unwanted critters, always cover the greens with the browns when adding material.  Finally, if you would like to speed up the composting process, you can mix the pile once every few weeks. Even without mixing, the pile will decompose in about 10 to 12 months. 

Here are some examples of greens and browns. 

Greens: grass clippings, weeds, manure, vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells, tea bags  

Browns: grass clippings, dry leaves, saw dust, shredded newspapers, brown grass clippings, cut-up cardboard 

Green Tip 

Continue discussing the potential of locating a compost pile at your property and considering what type of bin or structure you would like to use to contain your pile. Happy composting!