What is Composting?
Composting is a practical and convenient way to handle organic wastes. Yard wastes and food waste can be composted and turned into a dark, crumbly, earth-smelling material that can be used in gardens, on lawns and around trees and shrubs. Composting is also a great way to divert waste from incinerators and increase recycling. The City is working in several different ways to increase composting efforts.
International Composting Awareness Week - May 2-8, 2021
Welcome to ICAW! Find out more information on Composting in Middletown here and watch our Facebook page for composting tips throughout the week!
It is easy and fun to compost at home with a backyard composting bin. The City occasionally holds community compost bin sales and workshops in the spring and fall. You can compost with or without a bin. By adding carbon materials (such as leaves, sawdust, woodchips) with nitrogen-rich materials (food waste, grass clipping) you can end up with a nutrient rich, soil like material for your gardens. Middletown City Hall manages a backyard composting bin for City Hall. If you want to see it contact the City Recycling Coordinator or find more information on Home Composting can be found here.
What Can I Compost?
Here's a list of 104 items you can put in your backyard compost bin. You want to make sure you add enough carbon rich (brown) material with the nitrogen rich (green) material. Usually 3 parts brown to 1 part green is a good ratio. If you have too much green material it just become a stinky mess. Your bin also needs oxygen and moisture. Mix it occasionally with a pitch fork or aerator and make sure it isn't too wet, or too dry. It should be the consistency of a wrung out sponge.
Please note that our Recycling Center drop off and commercial food waste collections accept more types of food waste than what is recommended for your backyard bin. We recommend never to put meat, dairy or greasy items in your backyard bin. Also, note that bones, cobs, and shells will take a lot longer to compost in a backyard bin.
Can't compost at home? No problem! Food Scraps can be brought to the Middletown Recycling Center at no charge. The Food Scraps will be taken to the anaerobic digester in Southington and turned into clean energy and a soil amendment.
Curbside Collection of Compost
With the recent development of composting and organic digesting infrastructure in the state, more services are becoming available to have your food waste collected for composting. In Middletown Blue Earth Compost is a private company that provides this service, for a cost, if you don’t want to or can’t compost it in your backyard.
Many of our larger businesses (and some small!) have started separating organic waste for composting and anaerobic digestion. This makes such a big difference. The more we can divert from the typical waste stream, the better for us and our environment. When you visit an establishment, ask what they do with their waste and if they have considered composting or anaerobic digestion. If they need information, they can contact the City Recycling Coordinator.
Besides managing a compost bin at City Hall, the City has collected organics at the Open Air Market at the Wadsworth Mansion. Volunteer Recycling Educators have staffed the trash and recycling stations to help participants separate their waste properly. Recycling and Composting efforts at this event have reduced the trash generated significantly. Recycling Commission volunteers also brought in a water station, where shoppers could get a drink of water with a reusable water bottle or small recyclable cup instead of purchasing bottled water.
The City is trying to initiate composting in the schools and in the Sanitation District. A pilot program was run at Moody and Snow school kitchens in the Spring of 2018. Organizers are hoping to expand that program in 2021.
The City has collected and composted leaves for decades. Currently leaves go to a local farm where they are composted in windrows. In the spring, the City makes available compost material from the city’s leaves. Watch the Public Works Facebook Page or sign up for Recycling Communications for information about when the compost is available.
Brush and Christmas trees are also collected to be chipped. Woodchips are available at the Recycling Center at no charge. Large dump truck loads can be delivered to Middletown residents for use on their property. Please note, these woodchips are not uniform in size, nor are they treated in any way. The City does not recommend using them near any building or on any play area. A waiver form must be signed and notarized to allow the City to deliver the woodchips onto your property.
The Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments and the City of Middletown offered a 2021 Spring Community Compost Bin and Rain Barrel Sale . Orders had to placed by April 8, 2021 and then picked up on Sunday, April 11, 2021. The City is planning to host another sale in October 2021.
Backyard Composting 101 Workshop - Available Now!
Learn about Backyard Composting with UConn Master Composters, Danielle Butsch and Ruth Eckhoff. This was recorded March 2021. Have questions after watching? Contact the Middletown Recycling Coordinator for answers!