ng logo

Backyard Composting

Did you know that approximately 30% of your household garbage is compostable?
Consider a back yard composter to help reduce your environmental footprint and decrease your bag tags costs. Back yard composters may be purchased at the Oxford Mills Waste Transfer Station, the Municipal Office and at local hardware stores.

What is Composting?

Composting is the natural breakdown of food and yard waste into a nutrient-rich material which can be added to your gardens.

Why Compost?

  • Soil Enrichment - Compost improves soil structure to enhance plant growth (similar to peat moss).
  • Water Conservation - Compost helps soil retain moisture which reduces the need for watering.
  • Waste Reduction - Composting can reduce your household waste by 30%. If everyone composted, it would dramatically reduce the amount of household garbage sent to be landfilled.
  • Prevent Plant Disease - compost contains natural antibiotics that suppress disease in plants.

Where can I get a composter?

Back yard composters may be purchased at the Oxford Mills Waste Transfer Station and at local hardware stores.

How do I compost?

  • Choose a sunny location with good drainage for your composter.
  • Place a base (i.e. chicken wire) on the ground and set the composter on top of the base.
  • Place kitchen scraps (i.e. greens: materials high in nitrogen such as vegetables, or grass clippings) with yard waste (i.e. browns: materials high in carbon such as dried leaves) in alternating layers and turn regularly.
  • Place some "finished compost" or garden soil in a thin layer (2.5 cm or 1 inch) over top of kitchen waste to help speed up the process, reduce the risk of odours and allow for air movement and drainage.
  • Your compost is ready when the texture is dark and crumbly and has a pleasant earth-like smell. It will normally take a year or more.

What can I compost?

  • Yard waste - leaves, grass clippings, wood chips, plants, flowers, weeds (before they go to seed), straw or hay.
  • Kitchen scraps - fruits & vegetables, egg shells, tea bags/leaves, coffee grounds/filters, rice, bread, pasta (no oil or sauce).
  • Other - hair, sawdust (non-treated wood).

What does NOT go in my composter?

Do not compost bones, fish, dog or cat waste, dairy products, rhubarb leaves and other toxic plants, fatty foods such as cheese, salad dressing, leftover cooking oil, plants infected with disease, meats, walnut shell or walnut leaves.

Composting Tips

  • Always keep your compost material as moist as a damp sponge.
  • Chop waste into smaller bits for faster decomposition.
  • Don't add thick layers of any one material, particularly grass; mix it with other material instead.
  •  You can compost throughout the winter. The composting process slows down but speeds up again in the spring.

Troubleshooting

Compost has a bad odour?

Problem: Not enough air or too wet.  
Solution: Turn it to aerate/add dry materials.

Process appears too slow?

Problem: Compost is too dry, frozen, or has a poor carbon to nitrogen ratio. 
Solution: Moisten the mix thoroughly, decomposition will speed up in the spring, add greens or browns as required.

Compost is too wet?

Problem: Poor drainage or soaked from rainfall. 
Solution: Move to a location with proper drainage/put a lid on it.

Insects or animal pests?

Problem: Meat/fish or fatty foods in composter. 
Solution: Avoid adding these; dig in all food wastes and cover with soil.

Damp and sweet smelling?

Problem: Lack of nitrogen. 
Solution: Mix in greens.

Public Works Contacts

  • Dunlop, Karen

    Director Public Works

    613-258-9569 ext 132

  • Fequet, Cheryl

    Public Works Clerk

    613-258-9569 ext 133