The Dirt: Composting in Ann Arbor

. April 4, 2017.
Ann Arbor’s curbside compost collection starts today
Ann Arbor’s curbside compost collection starts today

The Dirt is a series on sustainability and the environment.

Ann Arbor’s curbside compost collection starts today and will be offered for all your organic waste removal needs until December 1.

To participate in this program, there are compost carts available for purchase for $25 in 64 and 96-gallon sizes and the compost is collected at the same time as your regularly scheduled trash pickup. Composting through the city offers all the convenience of taking out the trash while reaping the benefits of compost.

The compost is collected at the scale house on 4150 Platt Rd. When the compost from the community is good and ready (April 15), the compost is free to take back to the garden with proof of Ann Arbor residency (a bill or driver’s license works).

For full details about the Ann Arbor compost collection, check out the website. Interested in composting at home? Here’s a “how to.”

DIY Composting

For apartment dwellers where their landlord doesn’t participate in this compost program, try creating your own compost!

I use an all purpose 5-gallon Home Depot bucket in classic bright orange. It cost less than $5 and is a great size for a two-person apartment. Metal and plastic trash bins are also good options.

There are many resources on how to compost and what to compost, but this is the basic start-up.

  1. Fill the bottom with about three inches of shredded paper or another absorbent compostable material
  2. Add vegetarian food scraps – no animal products of any kind.
  3. The pile should be slightly damp. If the pile is too dry, add a little bit of water. If the pile is too wet or smells, add absorbent materials like coffee grounds, paper or leaves.

Conventional wisdom for composting is there should be drainage holes for excess moisture. Having a portion of the lid chewed off by a squirrel also works. (I now keep a plastic deck chair over the bucket and have since had no squirrel instances).

Here are some of our other favorite composting resources:

https://www.planetnatural.com/composting-101/

http://www.gardeners.com/how-to/all-about-composting

https://www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home

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