Compost Bins

The Gardner Health Department has compost bins as part of a Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection grant. These can be purchased at the Board of Health office, below retail costs. The composters are selling for $25.

Did you know that yard waste makes up an astounding 18% of typical household waste? But this material, which we tend to think of as "waste," can be turned into an organic product that can help lawns and gardens survive droughts. Yard waste isn't trash, it's a resource. There are several options for managing it that are easy, good for the environment and great for your yard. You can bring your leaves and grass to Gardner Transfer Station, compost it in your backyard or use it as mulch around shrubs, in gardens and wooded areas.

If you want to recycle even more household waste, why not try backyard composting? You can compost a lot more than yard waste at home, such as fruit and vegetable scraps, tea bags, coffee grounds, egg shells, paper towels, napkins and even paper bags. Composting can eliminate half your trash. It's easy to make compost because most of the work is done by naturally occurring soil organisms that turn organic material into humus.

Build or purchase a compost bin. Enclosed compost piles keep out pests, hold heat and moisture in, and have a neat appearance. They can be made of wire, wood, pallets, concrete blocks, metal and plastic. Place the bin, bought or made, in a convenient, shady area that can be reached with your hose.

Build your compost pile using three parts "brown" material and one part "green" material. This provides food for the compost organisms in a recipe that will not create odors. "Brown" ingredients include leaves, straw, dried grass clippings, wood chips, sawdust, pine needles, and paper products such as paper towels, napkins, bags, plates, coffee filters, tissue and newspaper. "Green" materials include fresh grass clippings, weeds, fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags, eggshells, manure, and seaweed. Make sure the materials are damp as you build the pile, especially the "browns." Sprinkle on several shovelfuls of rich garden soil or finished compost after every 12" of fresh material.

Once your pile is built, continue to add fresh materials as they become available. Always bury food scraps in the center of the pile under about 6" of leaves, where they will decompose odorlessly. If leaves are in short supply, add plenty of paper towels, napkins and torn up paper bags to provide the necessary carbon, and always bury your food scraps under this material. Add water to your pile if it becomes dry to the touch. The composting organisms need a damp, humid environment to work effectively.

Organic material will start to turn to compost in 3 to 6 months. Compost, known as "black gold" to gardeners, replenishes nutrients in the soil, helps retain moisture, makes the soil easy to work, and helps plants resist disease. Compost makes plants healthy so they can overcome adverse conditions without pesticides or chemical fertilizers.

For more information please call the Health Department at 978-630-4013

Click here for Compost Facility Regulations