Sustainable Arlington

Envision Arlington/Mass. Climate Action Network (MCAN) Chapter


Originally posted March 17th, 2007

In response to a question on composting on the Sustainable Arlington email list, Elizabeth Karpati writes:

You can compost any raw vegetable matter, from apple cores to grass clippings and leaves, and coffee grounds too. Leaves can be shredded with a lawnmower, or else they tend to mat down and take forever.

The Arlington Dept. of Public Works (located on Grove St.) has compost bins at reasonable prices, and information. I compost year-round — in winter I just throw my vegetable refuse on top of the heap in the bin and it sits there until the compost organisms wake up and go to work on it in the spring. I have also composted eggshells and even a few lobster shells, and they don’t seem to have hurt my compost. I have a plastic trash can next to my compost bins, and when the compost in the bottom part of a bin seems ready, I transfer any uncomposted stuff from the top part to the other bin and sift the compost from the bottom through “hardware cloth” with 1/2 inch mesh into the trash can so I have a ready supply of compost when I need it.

Martin LaMonica adds:

One of the first things we did when we moved to our house in Arlington was build a compost bin and it continues to serve us well. All vegetable matter goes in there–veggies, yard waste, etc.–and comes out compost a few months later. Be careful to keep any animal parts out (with the exception of egg shells and apparently lobster exo-skeletons, as noted above). It’s important to cover what you put in there with leaves or other non-food material. In the fall, we keep a yard waste bag full of leaves to pile on top of deposits during the winter. Also important is moving stuff around–a pitchfork does the trick–to help the composting process.

Links on composting:


Compost Guide
Grist advice column

Grist on composting weeds