Backyard/On-site Composting

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backyard composting

Compost is decomposed organic matter, made from leaves, grass clippings, wood chips and fruit and vegetable scraps. Added to your soil or sprinkled on your yard and garden, it helps grass and plants to thrive. Unlike some fertilizers, compost will not run off your yard and pollute our creeks and waterways.

Proper Disposal Infrastructure

Give Mother Nature a Hand…without lifting a finger!

Sponsored by Rutland County Solid Waste District

To purchase, please visit our office at 1 Smith Rd, Rutland, VT 05701 between 7 AM – 4:30 PM Monday through Friday. Call (802) 775-7209 for more information.

From Busch Systems

SoilSaver Composter

District Customers: $40.00
Out of District Customers: $50.00
25% BIGGER than other advertised carriers!

Large Enough for a Family of Five

• LIGHTWEIGHT – Easy to Carry –
Fits in Any Car

Large Kitchen Scrap Carrier

District Customers: $14.00
Out of District Customers: $20.00

SIZE – 8.5″x9″x11″ H
CAPACITY – 9.6 Quarts
USAGE – Temporary Storage of Kitchen Waste
FEATURES – Generous Size, Filter, Handle

Easily Hangs on Cupboard Door (from screws) or sits firmly on the counter.


Green Cone Digester

District Customers: $120.00
Out of District Customers: $140.00

This processes all food scraps including meat and dairy. It requires no turning, moving or other maintenance if used correctly.

CAPACITY -processes up to 11 lbs of food scraps per week

Household Recycling Bins

District Customers: $7.00
Out of District Customers: $8.00

CAPACITY: 14 Gallons- enough for a week or more of recyclables


Preventing food scraps from going in the trash is not only a way to save money, but it is the law starting in 2020! The Rutland County Solid Waste District is available to help individuals and organizations set up on-site composting with consultation and workshops. Composting workshops are a great way to bring the community together to educate on best composting methods, share resources, and come up with ideas to divert food scraps from the landfill. For more information, call (802) 775-7209 or email


Composting is easy. Simply put different yard trimmings such as leaves and grass clippings in a bin or pile. You should have a mix of green material and brown material. Add water so the pile is slightly damp. Let the pile sit for 12 to 16 months.

You can add fruit and vegetable scraps and other materials as generated. Cover new kitchen scraps with leaves or bury them in the pile. If the pile dries out, add more water to keep it damp.

After 12 to 16 months, most of the material at the bottom of the pile will be dark, rich sweet-smelling compost. Sift or sort out large undecomposed materials and sprinkle the rest on your yard and garden.

For faster results, turn the pile at least once a month. The pile should reach a temperature of 130 to 160 degrees and will be ready in 6 to 9 months. The more frequently you turn the pile, the faster your compost will be ready.

What Can Be Composted?
• Grass Clippings
• Yard Trimmings (old plants, wilted flowers, small prunings)
• Leaves
• Vegetable & Fruit Scraps
• Coffee Grounds
• Tea Leaves
• Wood Chips
• Shredded Paper (Low grade paper not acceptable for recycling)

What to Avoid
• Meat, Fish and Poultry (including bones)
• Food Sauces
• Fats, Grease, and Oils
• Dairy Products
• Pet Feces
• Invasive Weeds
• Treated Wood (or any materials containing strong preservatives or toxins)
• Ashes and charcoal
• Non-organics (plastic, metal, glass, etc…)


Practice Bear Aware Composting

If you live in rural Vermont (and some urban areas) you have probably taken down bird feeders from April to November to avoid it being knocked down by hungry bears. While bird feeders can be attractive, there are ways to compost food scraps without bringing in extra bears to your backyard. Figure out which method works best for you at different times of the year:

  1. Backyard compost pile- make sure to add 3 times as many browns (leaves, wood shavings, brown paper) as greens (food scraps) and always cover exposed greens with a few inches of brown material. Keep all contents in a sturdy container that has plenty of air holes, and turn frequently (at least weekly) to aerate the pile. The last tip is to keep the moisture level consistent around 50-60%– a squeeze test should produce some moisture, but no dripping. There are some bear-resistant bins available, and many people have used the Green Cone Digester (subsidized to $120 by RCSWD) without bother from bears or other critters.
  2. Bring food scraps to drop off location– all transfer stations accept food scraps for drop off, which are then composted or anaerobically digested. All you need is a bucket or bag to hold the food scraps, and you can avoid the hassle of doing it yourself! Put scraps in the fridge or freezer to keep smells down until your next disposal.
  3. Compost in your kitchen!– Worm composting can be done odorlessly and with cleanliness under a sink or in a closet. The worms and microbes eat food scraps quick enough that mold and odor are not produced. It can require some reading and practice to get the process down, so here are some further resources to check out:
    1. Worm composting overview by Elaine Nordmeyer, UVM Master Composter
    2. Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Appelhoff
    3. Mother Earth News – Online Resource