About 30% of trash is yard waste and kitchen scraps. You can keep this organic matter out of the landfill and return it to the soil in a usable form by building a simple compost file.

Do compost the following:

Green (high nitrogen materials)

Brown (High carbon materials)

Do not compost the following:

How to build a compost pile
Find a convenient spot at least 3 feet long and 3 feet wide. Collect green (high nitrogen) and brown (high carbon) materials which will be added in layers. For the first layer stack six inches of small branches, twigs and dry leaves on the ground. Alternate layers of green material with layers of brown material on top in equal quantities. Wet each layer. Cover with a 1-inch layer or old compost, or grass clippings. Keep pile moist but not soggy. Turning the pile (no more than once a week) will hasted decomposition. Repeat the layering until the pile is about 3 feet tall. The centre of the pile will get hot when decomposing and the pile will shrink.

Finished compost is called humus and is crumbly, dark brown or black and sweet smelling. You can use this compost for:

Photographs: Robert Shallenberger, Doug Sell and Andrew Walsh.