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Composting

One other way to manage Municipal Solid Waste is by composting. Composting decomposes organic waste, such as food scraps and yard trimmings, with microorganisms (mainly bacteria and fungi), producing a humus-like substance.

What should be composted?

Anything organic or once alive will compost.

Brush Bundle all brush that is less than 6″ in diameter. Bundles must not weigh more than 50lbs. Bundles must be no longer than 4 feet in length and 18″ around. Brush larger than 6″ in diameter must still be bundled; however it is considered trash and will be picked up as such.
If your trash, yard waste or recycling is not picked up by 4:00pm on your regularly scheduled day, please call (734) 699-8926.
Leaves and Grass Clippings Leaves and grass clippings may either be placed in paper compost bags purchased at your local grocery store, or placed in a trash can with a compost sticker. Compost sticker must face the road.
Yard clipping do not include stumps, agricultural wastes, animal waste, roots, sewage sludge, or garbage!
Do not overload compost bags, and be sure to fold down the tops for easier lifting.

Do not use plastic bags!!

If you are using a can, it must have a yard waste sticker. Face the sticker towards the street and place the container ten feet from your garbage. It should not be any larger than a 30 gallon can. 50lb limit.

Materials for composting are usually divided into sources of Carbon (brown) and Nitrogen (green).

Carbon/Brown: Nitrogen/Green:
  • Autumn Leaves
  • Vegetable scraps
  • Straw
  • Coffee grounds
  • Wood Chips
  • Grass clippings
  • Newspaper
  • Manure

Generic composting recipe:

  • Mix 1 part Green, 2 parts Brown
  • Add soil (several shovels full; optional)
  • Add water and mix to make it as wet as a wrung-out sponge
  • Mix

*** There are also some materials that should be avoided: meat or animal products, oils, or food cooked with oils, dog or cat feces, glossy paper, charcoal ashes, diseased plants, invasive weeds and seeds, and plants recently treated with pesticides or long-lived chemicals like arsenic.
Seven Steps to Better Composting!

  1. Pick a well-drained spot in your yard to set up compost bin or pile
  2. Gather as much of a variety of compostable ingredients as you can
  3. Chop or grind larger compost ingredients. This will speed up the decomposition process
  4. Build your compost pile in layers
  5. Bury food scraps in the center of the pile so that the neighborhood wildlife isn’t tempted to dig in
  6. Turn the pile with a garden fork a couple of times a month (or more frequently if you like) and add water when needed. It takes as little as two weeks or as long as several months to ‘cook’. The compost will be ready when it is dark brown, crumbly and earthy-smelling
  7. Enjoy the fruits of your labor by adding compost to your lawn and/or garden

Once you have finished composting:

  • Use finished compost from the bottom of the bin or pile
  • Cultivate the soil around the plants you wish to enrich with compost
  • Spread the compost in 1-3″ thick layers around the plants or tree

*** Be careful not to allow compost to touch plants or tree bark directly, this may harm to plants through decomposition
When to compost?

Since food waste is generated year-round and yard waste is seasonal, there may be variations in the composting system throughout the year

  • Spring and summer: Leaves (saved from the fall) can be mixed with grass clippings and other yard waste
  • Fall: Compost leaves and kitchen scraps, mulch or plant cover crops
  • Winter: Indoor vermin-composting and garbage can composting are useful this time of year. Garbage can composting uses an actual garbage can for a compost bin. Vermi-composting means using earth worms to decompose organic matter

Uses for Compost

Compost can be used for a variety of applications. Most often people use it to prepare a plant bed for the following growing season, amend the soil of an established garden, make compost tea to use on house-plants, or rake into the lawn to add nutrients back to the soil.

When compost goes rotten – what’s the problem?

Foul odor : The reason could be that there is not enough air, or too much moisture in the pile. You can solve this problem by turning the pile and adding dry material if the pile is too wet

Warm and damp only in the middle: The reason could be that the pile is too small. Solve this problem by adding more materials

Pile is damp but wont’ heat up: The reason for this might be lack of nitrogen or not enough air. To solve this problem, add grass clippings or other nitrogen sources and turn the pile.
** Information about composting gathered from Wayne County Department of Environment Resource Recovery Guide, Department of Environment

Recycling/Compost Information

Michigan Recycling Coalition (http://www.michiganrecycles.org/)

Waste News (http://www.wastenews.com/)

The Compost Resource Page (http://www.oldgrowth.org/compost/)

Recycle City  (http://www.epa.gov/recyclecity/mainmap.htm) – A fun interactive way to explore recycling in your community.

MDEQ Recycling Information (http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,1607,7-135-3585_4130–,00.html)