Composting

composted soil

photo by Kessner photography

Composting converts organic matter, such as food waste, leaves, and grass clippings, to a more usable soil or mulch. Compost is nutrient-rich, helps hold moisture in light, sandy soil, and improves drainage in heavy soil.

Setting up organics recycling at home:

  • Start by reading through Golden Valley’s compost ordinance below.
  • Select a location in your yard for a compost bin and purchase or construct one.
  • Select an indoor collection container. Collection containers can be things you already have (ice cream pails, coffee cans, or yogurt containers). You can also purchase containers from a grocery, hardware, or retail store.
  • Start collecting organic waste. Begin by keeping an indoor collection container in your kitchen, as this is where most organics waste is generated. You can also expand your collection to include other rooms.
    • What to compost: yard waste, straw, fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, or egg shells generated from the site on which the compost is located.
    • What not to compost: woody yard waste, meat, bones, fat, oil, whole eggs, dairy products, unshredded branches or logs, weeds heavily laden with seeds, plastics, synthetic fibers, human or pet wastes, diseased plants, or any other garbage or refuse.
    • If you have issues with smell or pests, consider keeping your organics container in the fridge or freezer.

Backyard Composting Requirements

  • Materials must be contained in a bin that may be constructed of wood, wire mesh, or a combination of wood and wire, or in commercially fabricated compost bins.
  • Only one structure is allowed per lot.
  • Structure must not exceed 500 cubic feet (for example, 10' x 10' x 5') in volume.
  • Maximum height is five feet.
  • Composting is permitted only on residential properties having up to four dwellings.
  • Compost structures must be placed in the rear yard of the property at least 5 feet from property line (35 feet if property line is also a street line) and no closer than 40 feet to any habitable building other than your own home.

More Information

Difference Between Organics Recycling and Backyard Composting

Both processes result in composted material, but a larger amount of materials are accepted in organics recycling than can be used for backyard composting. Organics recycling is collected year-round to be composted at an industrial compost facility, where the temperature is higher in larger piles of compost, which are turned using large equipment. This means that materials like bones and non-recyclable paper products will break down in these sites. Bones and BPI Certified compostable products are not backyard compostable because they do not reach the necessary temperature to break them down. Backyard composting is a great option during the growing season for other materials such as fruits, vegetables, and yard waste. Backyard composting can still be done if you participate in a curbside collection program.