LiveFood › Composting

Returning to the soil

Composting is a natural process where food scraps become fertilizer. You can compost at home. All it requires is an inexpensive covered bin, or place in the yard you can cordon off, and a small commitment of time.

Composting has been called the next frontier in waste, because if you do a good job recycling, most of your remaining waste will probably be food and yard waste. If you looked in the dumpster of a typical office, 50 percent of what you’d see is food waste.

Compost happens here<br />In 2012, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History introduced separated compost, recycling and landfill binsCompost at Dunham Tavern garden, Cleveland<br />The Cleveland Botanical Gardens Green Corps Learning Garden in Midtown Cleveland composts food waste from the Cleveland Clinic, Great Lakes Brewing and Case Western Reserve University and uses it on their beds to grow veggies for local markets.Composting at home is easy<br /><br /><br />Compost bin at West Side Market, Cleveland<br />Compost bin at West Side Market, Cleveland<br />Earthtub composter at Baldwin-Wallace College<br />The Baldwin-Wallace College Earthtub can break down thousands of pounds of wood chips, leaves and kitchen food scraps (and it has since November 2008) into compost that is used on gardens at the school

Why compost?

When you start composting, you’re moving up the scale in ‘going green’—you are reclaiming the idea of throwing something ‘away’. The benefit to you for composting is

  • A free supply of fertilizer for your houseplants and garden.
  • Composting is a great way to keep your weekly garbage down to a minimum. Northeast Ohio's landfills are 40 percent food scraps and yard waste.
  • It is a good environmental practice, and an inexpensive way of adding nutrients back into the soil. Applying compost to soil improves its texture, structure, aeration ability and water holding capacity.
  • Composting adds up to improved soil fertility and root development. Trees, flowers or vegetables will grow healthier with less chemicals or fertilizers.
  • Composting is a big step closer to a zero-waste lifestyle.


The Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District will do what’s called a waste audit. They’ll look inside your dumpster at work and advise you on how to better manage your waste stream. Call (216) 443-3749 and ask for the Business Resource Specialist.

For tips on composting at home, check out their Backyard Composting guide

Condo and apartment residents without a yard can set up vermicomposting bins. Vermicomposting requires a mail-order of worms and a water-proof container. Here's a good guide to setting up a vermicomposting bin at home


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