Composting Program

The Town of Boone's Composting Program

One of the easiest ways to reduce the amount of garbage going to the landfill is to compost! Composting fruit and vegetable scraps, egg shells and even grass clippings is a simple adjustment to your everyday life, and Boone wants to help. If you own a single family home or a duplex in the Town of Boone's town limits, compost bins are available at no charge for backyard composting. You may pick up a compost bin at the Town of Boone's Public Works Center.

Why Should We Compost?

Composting is nature's way of recycling. Microorganisms break down material, like yard trimmings and food scraps, into a dark, crumbly soil-like substance that can be used in your garden and on your lawn. Other amazing benefits of composting are listed below

  • Waste Less: About 30% of what North Carolinians throw away is yard debris and food waste. Composting keeps this material out of landfills and turns it into a product you can use.
  • Go Natural: Reduce or eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Compost contains valuable nutrients that feed your plants. It also helps suppresses plant diseases and pests, a win-win scenario for everyone!
  • Save Money: By making your own valuable compost at home, you can reduce your need to water and buy products such as chemical fertilizers, pesticides and bags for leaves and yard waste

How Do We Get Started?

If you own a single family home or duplex in the Town of Boone's town limits, the easiest place to start is to Contact Shannon Isaacs, Adoption Program and Sanitation/Recycling Coordinator, to see if you qualify for a free composting bin. However, if you don't qualify, don't fret! We still want you to compost in any capacity you can. That is why we have some alternative suggests on how to get started.

Composting Bin versus Composting Pile

A pile works great for bigger compostable items, like yard clippings or leaves. However, if you will be incorporating food scraps, consider buying or creating an enclosed composting structure to keep out unwanted pests. Homemade bins can easily be built using scrap wood, chicken wire or concrete blocks. Check out this detailed Do It Yourself Composting Bin Guide (PDF)  If you're 'DIY challenged', there are also composting bins available for purchase. Make sure to look for bins which:

  • Has a Lid and Air vents
  • Pest Resistant
  • Holds Heat Well
  • Has a Bottom Door for Easy Access to Compost

Location for Composting

The best area for your composting area is a dry and partly shady spot on your property near a water source, such as a water hose. Make sure to keep your compost at least 2 feet away from your house, your fence and other structures on your property. Ideally, your composting structure should be about 1 cubic yard (3 feet by 3 feet) in order to provide adequate food and insulation to the organism found in your compost. 

The Right Mixture

In order to have a successful composting experience, it's important to have the right mixture of certain types of materials in your composting area. Check out The Right Mixture: How to Keep Your Compost Happy, Healthy and Thriving (PDF). This infographic is a great guide to learn how to keep your compost maintained and enjoyable for all!

How Do We Make Compost?

While seemingly a simple question, there's quite a cast of characters involved when making compost. From bacteria to worms and even you, composting is truly a team effort! There are two types of composting; passive composting and active composting. The basic principle is the same for both, however each method requires different amounts of materials, time and effort. Check out Comparing the 2 Types of Compost (PDF) to learn the difference.

Is the Compost Ready?

To tell if your compost is ready, check the material at the bottom. If it's dark and rich in color, and all remnants of food scraps and yard trimmings are gone, then it's ready! You may also notice that it smells earthy as well. If you are actively composting, the pile will begin to grow cooler closer to the time it is finished.

What to Do With Compost

  • Mix compost into your soil before you plant. Add about 2 to 4 inches of compost during planting time.
  • Use compost as mulch. Spread 2 to 3 inches of compost around trees, shrubs and plants to help the soil retain moisture.
  • Add compost to potting soil. Mix one part compost to two parts potting soil. Be sure to screen compost to remove large pieces before mixing.

Composting Troubleshooting

Rotten Egg Smell

Too wet and/or not enough airflow

Turn your pile and add brown material if it's soggy
Ammonia SmellToo much nitrogenAdd brown material and turn your pile

Pile Isn't Decomposing

Too wet 

Too dry

Lack of nitrogen

Pile too small

Add brown material and turn your pile

Add water, your pile should be the consistency of a damp sponge

Add green material and turn your pile

Add more green and brown material. Your pile should be about 1 cubic yard in size

Big Pests

Meat, dairy and/or fats in pile

Remove or bury animal products. Make sure your pile is enclosed or in a pest-proof container

Exposed green material

Cover with brown material, finished
compost or soil