Divert Your Food Waste Stream–with a Compost Bin!

“Compost Happens”—it is a natural process, where beneficial microbes and fungi slowly break down organic waste into humus, a nutrient-rich, soil-like material that can be used as fertilizer. 

You can speed up this process by using a compost bin and filling it with your own kitchen and yard waste. This cuts down on the amount of trash you send to the landfill, and reduces methane emissions (a potent greenhouse gas). The compost that comes from your bin will improve the soil in your yard and feeds the plants in your garden without expensive chemical fertilizers.

Left: 128-gallons bins provided by Recycling Connections; Right: a batch of “green” added to existing compost.

Welty and City of Beloit are sponsoring a compost bin sale…

A well-functioning compost pile is made of two components: “green” items which contribute nitrogen to the humus, and “brown” items which contribute carbon. Greens are living waste materials (still have color), and includes fruits, vegetables, untreated grass clippings, houseplants, fur, coffee grounds, and tea bags. Browns are dead materials, such as: fallen leaves, hay, egg shells, straw, shredded newspaper, nut shells, fireplace ashes. Equal amounts of each keep the decomposition process humming and will cut down on smell (a healthy bin smells like rich soil).

…to celebrate Earth Day.

A few more ingredients speeds up the process. A dark-colored compost bin helps raise the temperature as it heats up in the summer and keeps the materials piled up, while water (average rainfall is usually enough) keeps the ingredients moist so the microbes and worms can do their job. The time from cutting board to compost can be as fast as five weeks in the heat of summer, and can be even shorter if you turn the compost with a rake or shovel to keep mixing the materials.

Welty and City of Beloit are sponsoring a compost bin sale this spring, to celebrate Earth Day. Each bin is 128 gallons, and will be sold for $55 on the Welty website (plus a 3% credit card fee) or a check can be delivered to the City the City of Beloit Public Works Department, 2351 Springbrook Court, Beloit, WI  53511 (hours: 7am-4pm Monday-Friday).

We will have two pick-up days, April 23 (9am-noon) at Big Hill Center, and May 14 (noon-3pm) at the Beloit Public Library. We will also run four 15-minute demonstrations during the three-hour pick up time, so folks can learn how to get started and take a flyer with details on techniques and troubleshooting. You don’t have to be a Beloit resident, or buy a bin, to participate.

We are grateful to the Rotary Club of Beloit, who is helping sponsor the demos and brochure, and also buying 10 bins for local service providers who are starting their own community gardens (BMHS, Merrill Community Garden, Stateline Boys and Girls Club)!

Brenda Plakans
Executive Director, WEC