DEEP: Composting and Organics Recycling

Composting and Organics Recycling

{Composting Photo Banner}
"However small your garden, you must provide for two of the serious gardener's necessities,
a tool shed and a compost heap."
~ Anne Scott-James
Organic materials such as food scraps, leaves and yard debris are highly recyclable and when source-separated from trash and should be thought of as a resource, not a waste. Significant increases in recycling rates can be achieved through composting and other organics recycling efforts. Connecticut DEEP encourages and promotes home composting, grasscycling, composting on-site at schools and other institutions and community composting.  We also support food scrap collection programs at businesses, schools and municipal transfer stations when transported to permitted organic recycling facilities that compost aerobically or through anaerobic digestion. These programs keep food scraps, yard trimmings and grass out of the waste stream, reduce waste handling and disposal costs, return valuable nutrients to the soil, and reduce the need for chemical fertilizers, thereby decreasing non-point source pollution. 


Composting at Home

{Home Compost Bin} By composting kitchen scraps and yard trimmings at home, and leaving grass clippings on the lawn, the volume of garbage you generate can be reduced by as much as 25%! Composting and grasscycling is practical, convenient and can be easier and less expensive than bagging these wastes and driving them to the transfer station, or paying a landscaper to take them away.  Leaves and grass clippings are required to be recycled in Connecticut, and composting and grasscycling are great ways to comply.
"Turning Your Spoils to Soil"  Home Composting Video (CT DEEP)
"Composting Has A-Peel"  Home Composting Brochure (CT DEEP)

School Composting Manual  Connecticut DEEP funded the production of this manual to provide a model for Connecticut schools to help them reduce their waste steam, increase recycling and to teach students about responsible waste management and the environmental advantages of composting. In the manual, you will find strategies for initiating a compost plan, bin design, routine steps of the composting operation, promotional activities, as well as an exhaustive section on lessons and resources.  Although written specifically with K-12 schools in mind, the manual could be applicable to other small-scale institutional settings.
A Work of Ort - How to Include Food Scraps in Your Office Recycling Program    This document is a long version of a one-page fact sheet that was developed by CT DEEP Green Team for a workshop called “Going Green Makes Sen$e” which was presented on September 28, 2011 to State Agencies, Municipalities, and Businesses on greening their offices.
DEEP's Office Food Scrap Composting Program  Since 1997, CT DEEP has been separating and composting food scraps, food-soiled paper, and other organics from their office waste stream and composting them on-site.  They have also joined the U.S. Food Waste Challenge.
Food Scraps Collection at Transfer Stations

Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority (New Fairfield, Newtown, Redding, Ridgefield)

{Lawnmower} Leaving grass clippings on the lawn returns valuable nutrients to the soil, allowing you to reduce the amount of chemical fertilizer you need to apply.  It is also against the law to dispose of them in the trash.  Learn about all the other environmental, time and cost saving benefits of grasscycling through the following resources:
"Don't Trash Grass!"  Video (CT DEEP) 
"Don't Trash Grass!" Brochure (CT DEEP)
"Don't Trash Grass!" Community Action Handbook (CT DEEP)

Community Composting

Identifying, Quantifying, and Mapping Food Residuals from Connecticut Businesses and Institutions  A GIS mapping tool and database where an entrepreneur, composter, hauler or waste manager can not only see where food generators in Connecticut are located, but can use the information to line-up new accounts, select the right collection vehicles, design efficient transportation routes, and choose logical locations to site new organics recycling facilities.

Compost Erosion Control Study  DEEP and the CT Department of Transportation (ConnDOT)collaborated on a two-year research project which demonstrated that compost was effective in controlling soil erosion, growing turf, and amending soil used in planting trees and shrubs. It resulted in ConnDOT incorporating compost into their "Standard Specifications for Roads, Bridges and Incidental Construction".
Commercial & Institutional Food Scrap Pilot Projects  A compilation of pilot projects that demonstrate food residual recycling from the commercial and institutional sector.

Content Last Updated on December 2019