HRRA is excited to have expanded organics recycling to Ridgefield and Newtown CT. Both programs started November 14, 2015 at Ridgefield's Recycing Center and Newtown's Transfer Station.
We hope that you will consider joining us in the effort to prevent food waste from entering the conventional waste stream and promote a sustainable environment! Residents from Newtown that are interested in the organics program should sign-up using the link at the top of this page. If you are a Ridgefield Resident, you may sign-up at the Recycling Center and receive your free kit.
New Fairfield residents who are interested in a possible program spring of 2016 should take the survey that is linked above. The town of New Fairfield is trying to gauge the interest before deciding to implement a program at the town recycling center on Bigelow Road.
Bridgewater's organic curbside program has collected over 64,000 lbs. of organic material (that's 32 tons) since it started collected in April 2014. This material was picked up from the homes of 120-140 Bridgewater residents. The material is being processed into rich useable compost and given back to the community each year.
Interested in joining the Bridgewater program?
Please contact Jen Iannucci at firstname.lastname@example.org , 203-312-1071
or call All American Waste at 860-354-2213.
Not interested in particiapating in the curb-side pilot program? Build your own compost pile.
Composting at home reduces the amount of material you need to put out at the curb each week and enabales you to turn vegetable and yard waste into a valuable soil conditioner for use in your backyard.
Finished compost is dark and crumbly and good for the soil. Mix it into the earth before planting flowers and vegetables or use it as mulch. It will help retain moisture, smother weeds and help prevent soil compaction.
Composting is easy and provides many benefits, some of which are listed below:
Composting reduces household garbage and is beneficial to the environment.
By using compost, organic matter that we encounter in our daily lives (food scraps, grass clippings, etc.) is returned to the soil in a functional form, avoiding landfill and waste incineration.
Compost contains nitrogen and phosphorus as does commercial fertilizer. Unlike synthetic fertilizers, compost does not release these nutrients quickly so plants derive maximum benefit from them.
Compost is natural, so you don't have to worry about polluting.
Compost adds water and nutrient-holding capacity to sandy soils.
Compost attracts earthworms and provides them with food so they breed rapidly. As all gardeners know, earthworms are beneficial for a garden.
Compost suppresses soil-born diseases that might attack your plants.
How Do I Get Started ?
Setting up a composter is a great environmental activity to participate in. To set up your composter, keep in mind the following:
Make a homemade composter or purchase one at a local garden center or online.
Place your composter on solid, well-drained ground. If possible, place your composter in a sunny spot in order to speed up the decomposition process.
For convenience, consider placing the composter near your side or back door.
Leave enough room near the composter for supplies of earth and dry leaves.
What Should I Put Into My Composter ?
Composting is a simple, natural process. Once you put organic material into your composter, the decomposition process starts. What you place into the composter and how you layer the material, affects the speed of decomposition. For best results, perform the following steps:
Add 4 parts carbon-based material (brown material such as dry leaves, shredded newspaper, straw etc.) to 1 part nitrogen (green material such as fruit and vegetable scraps, weeds, flowers, grass clippings etc.).
Vary the materials that go into the composter. The micro-organisms in your composter thrive on a variety of foods.
If possible, layer wet and dry material in your composter. For instance, when you add kitchen scraps or grass, also add dry leaves. Layers should be no more than 15 cm (6 inches) thick.
Sprinkle a little earth over your organic material. This will keep flies away from your composter.
Chop or shred materials into small pieces to make the composting process go faster.
Did You Know?
Anything that was once alive can be composted.
Human hair and pet hair can also be composted. These are GREEN items that are high in nitrogen.
You can compost in the winter.
If your compost pile doesn't seem to be composting, try turning it, it may need some air.
What Maintenance Will My Composter Need?
As long as your composter contains organic material, decomposition will happen. A little tending however can speed up the process, so be sure to keep the following points in mind:
Decomposition needs air. Turn or poke the contents of your composter every week to allow air to penetrate.
The contents of your composter should be like a damp (not wet) sponge. If it is too dry, add water to the pile, and add more fruit and vegetable scraps. If it is too wet, turn the compost pile more often, add dry organic materials like leaves, and keep a lid on your composter to keep the rain off the material.
Cut up vegetable and food scraps into small pieces. Greater surface area means faster composting.
Don't add more than 6 inches of one type of material at a time.
Involve your whole family in helping with the composter's care and feeding, and soon it will be just part of the household routine.
You Might Be Wondering....
Are animals attracted to composters?
If you follow the simple rules for composting and be sure to avoid putting meat, fat or bones into your composter, it probably won't be visited by unwanted pests or animals. If you're worried about pests, there are simple ways you can pest proof your composter by lining it with wire mesh or purchasing a base for the composter, using a composter with a cover, digging food waste into the pile and covering food waste with soil. What about bugs?
Most insects found in composters help the decomposition process. Presence of larger bugs like earwigs, sow bugs, and ants usually mean the material is not being composted quickly. These bugs are helping the process, but if they are still present when you use your finished compost, they may eat your plants. Pay close attention to the variety of material in your composter, and turn the pile frequently. As decomposition speeds up, the temperature will increase and the bugs will depart. Sprinkling a little earth over each addition of kitchen scraps will also discourage flies. Will my composter produce a foul smell?
A compost pile that is properly aerated and working well should not have an unpleasant odor. If it does, the material may be too wet or too compacted. Feeding your composter a variety of the right kinds of kitchen and yard waste, while aerating it by turning or poking it once a week can prevent it from producing a foul odour. Should I put weeds in my composter?
A composter that is working quickly will produce enough heat to kill most weed seedlings. To make sure that weed seedlings do not survive, leave collected weed waste in a black plastic bag in the sun for a few weeks before composting them.