Green Home: Backyard Composting

Many backyards contain more than just a swimming pool so they also contain more opportunities to reduce your impact on the ecosystem. Living the green lifestyle method taking the mantra “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”, to heart. If you have a kitchen and a garden, there is an easy way to do all three R’s in one easy operation. Compost! Enjoy watching biology and chemistry in action and have a more sustainable yard. Never haul a bag of manure in the back of your car again!

Reduce: Less waste headed to already overflowing landfill sites reduces the cost and pollution associated with transporting it there. Smaller trash pickups at each house method more efficient use of garbage trucks as they don’t make as many trips from the city to the landfill and back.

Reduce: Organic waste in the landfill produces methane, a major greenhouse gas.

Reuse: There is a store of useable carbon, nitrogen and other nutrients in your kitchen waste. You can make these ready for a second harvest.

Recycle: Turning food scraps into soil to grow new food is the time of action of Life.

Curbside composting pickup is offered by more and more municipalities, particularly in Ontario. The rest of us need to do it on our own.

Backyard composting can take many forms. The simplest is a pile or a trench. The most elaborate setups include a rotating bin that tosses the combination, speeding up its transformation from food scraps to soil.


– Food waste, preferably chopped up

– Grass clippings

– Dryer lint

– Shredded waste paper (not glossy or highly inked)

– Pet or human hair

– The debris collected by your Solar-Breeze robotic pool cleaner

– Water

– Patience

– Worms, if you can find them

Don’t Add:

– Branches thicker than toothpicks

– Meat and other animal byproducts as it will attract pests like rats

– Too much water. The compost should be only as wet as a wrung-out sponge.

– Garden waste that has gone to seed as the weeds will sprout again when you incorporate the compost material into your garden.

The City of Phoenix has a website on Composting and Green Organics. There is how-to information on composting in a desert ecosystem. They also sell compost bins for $5 to City residents. Deal!

If you live further north, you may want to visit the City of Toronto’s webpage on composting. Toronto will pick up and recycle your kitchen/yard waste or give you information on doing it yourself. Follow this link to a great instruction sheet.

With backyard composting, you will have fresh soil for your garden every year except the first one. It does take time, so be patient. You will be amazed at how the time of action compacts your kitchen waste. The reduction in trash for pickup by the Municipality is important. Your family will get to see the biological sciences in action as you turn food waste into carrots, lettuce and broccoli. You will get all these benefits, and a more sustainable yard.

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