Some food waste is inevitable, but you can keep this out of the waste stream with very little effort.

Composting Your Own Food Waste at Home

Some food waste is inevitable, but you can keep this out of the waste stream with a home compost bin. At the same time, you will be making great organic fertilizer for your garden and flower beds.  And it’s very easy to do.  Let’s start with a few basics:

Some Do’s and Don’ts:

  • All your vegetable and fruit wastes, (including rinds and cores) even if they are moldy and ugly
  • Old bread, donuts, cookies, crackers, pizza crust, noodles: anything made out of flour!
  • Grains (cooked or uncooked): rice, barley, you name it
  • Coffee grounds, tea bags, filters
  • Fruit or vegetable pulp from juicing
  • Old spices
  • Outdated boxed foods from the pantry
  • Egg shells (crush well)
  • Corn cobs and husks (cobs break down very slowly)
  • Meat or meat waste, such as bones, fat, gristle, skin, etc.
  • Fish or fish waste
  • Dairy products, such as cheese, butter, cottage cheese, yogurt, cream cheese, sour cream, etc.
  • Grease and oils of any kind

Why can’t you compost
these food wastes?

  • They inbalance the otherwise nutrient-rich structure of other food and vegetation waste and break down slowly
  • They attract rodents and other scavenging animals
  • Meat attracts maggots
  • Your compost bin will smell to holy hell and back!

 Inside Your Kitchen:

  • Get a medium-sized (1 gallon or slightly smaller) container with a cover to collect your daily food scraps.
  • Place it next to your sink
  • When full, empty it into your compost pile
  • You will quickly get into the composting habit!

Greens vs Browns:

  • You need the correct balance of “greens” and “browns” in your compost pile – twice as much “browns” as “greens” is about right.  Otherwise, the pile might smell and it won’t be a great fertilizer for your garden.
  • “Greens” are your kitchen waste and grass clippings
  • “Browns” are leaves, used paper napkins/towels, pizza boxes or other slightly soiled cardboard, etc.


home composting pic 2

  • The bigger  the volume, the quicker  it is to make compost


  • You need to turn your pile periodically with a shovel or pitchfork to aerate it
  • Your pile should be wet, but not soggy

Your Compost Pile:

  • It’s helpful to have 2-3 piles going at once:
    • a pile you are adding new materials to
    • a pile “still cooking”
    • a pile that is done/ready to use
  • Your compost pile can have many different forms, such as:
    • a standard black plastic compost container available from the Needham DPW for $65  (purchase bin at DPW building, 500 Dedham Ave., then present your receipt at the RTS & pick up your bin)
    • a circular container made of chicken wire
    • several connected/adjacent wood/wire bins
    • a “pile” in the corner of your yard
    • a cover of some type is recommended to help keep critters out of your compost

Love the idea  of home composting, but don’t  want to do it yourself  or want to compost everything, not just fruits and veggies   – see “Alternatives to Composting Your Food Waste at Home” page for more information.

??? Dirty boys link no longer works – and i can not find on web – are they out of business???

At this point, are you feeling a bit overwhelmed?  Do you want  to begin home composting, but need help  getting started?  – Then Dirty Boys Composting is the choice for you – they can help you get started with everything you need to get your compost pile started

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Dirty Boys Composting – Grant Berman, a former Newton South student, and his crew will handle your composting needs, including: compost bin purchase, delivery, installation; compost pile jump-start with top notch, Newton-bred, red wiggler worms; compost sifting and resuscitation; compost pile check ups and maintenance; family education, and on-call consultation. For more information visit the Dirty Boys Composting website or contact Grant at

If you are really just trying to keep your food waste out of the waste stream, then you don’t need to be as fussy – just create a compost pile or use a bin, and keep adding your kitchen waste and a pile of leaves occasionally – it will eventually break down.  But it does  make a difference – home composting helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 250 lbs a year compared to a landfill.


Home Composting made easy

Kitchen waste composting