Composting: 3 Ways

Keep food scraps & yard waste out of our landfill. Subscribe to curbside composting or compost at home.

 

Curbside compostingWoman scraping food waste into a pail on her counter.

Most homes in Kitsap County can subscribe to curbside compost pickup. Yard waste, food scraps (including meat and dairy), paper towels, and napkins go into the provided cart. This waste is composted at North Mason Fiber in Belfair, WA. Learn how to subscribe.


 

Backyard compostingPerson building compost in her backyard.

Backyard composting is best for yard and garden wastes like grass, leaves, and chipped wood. You can also put most food scraps in a backyard compost pile. There are many methods of backyard composting, including composting in heaps or in a container. 

 

Bowl of compostable food scraps.Worm composting

Worm composting is best for kitchen scraps like fruit and vegetable peelings. Red wiggler worms create castings, a valuable plant “health food.” You can make a worm bin from inexpensive materials or purchase a pre-made worm bin kit. Worm composting can be done indoors.

 

 How to backyard compost

 Download Composting to Reduce the Waste Stream: A Guide to Small Scale Food & Yard Waste Composting (external site). This 46-page booklet provides instruction in various types of home composting methods. Printed versions are available to Kitsap County residents. Email solidwaste@co.kitsap.wa.us.

Additional composting resources are available through the Washington State University's Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resources.

 How to worm compost

There are many ways to worm compost. We recommend that beginners start by making an "E-Z Worm Composting Bin" out of a plastic tote.

Supplies Needed:

  • Composting worms. Buy composting worms online (search "red wiggler worms Washington") or buy locally at Bay Hay & Feed (call ahead for availability).

  • A wide and shallow container. 10-gallon plastic "shatter proof" storage totes in a solid color work well. Drill holes in the bottom, sides, and top for drainage and airflow.

  • A tray to put under the worm bin to catch drainage. However, drainage usually means your bin is too wet.

  • Bedding. Shredded newspaper, shredded office paper, brown leaves, or straw.

Set Up:

 

Tips for Success:

  • Worm bins can handle around one pound (or one quart) of food scraps per week per square foot of bin surface area. This means a bin with a floor measuring 1 foot by 2 feet will take about 2 pounds (2 quarts) of food per week. A worm bin of this size can support around 1 pound of worms

  • Freeze your food scraps to prevent fruit flies and speed up composting. Keep a container in your freezer and add food scraps throughout the week. Then, thaw the scraps and feed them to your worms. Freezing makes the food softer, allowing the worms to eat much faster.

  • Bury the food scraps under shredded paper and castings to prevent fruit flies. 

  • Mix dry, shredded paper into the compost to ensure air flow throughout the bin and to absorb excess moisture. Most problems that happen in worm bins come from too much moisture.

  • When your worm bin gets full of compost (castings), look online for ways to harvest the compost and how to use it in your garden or houseplants.

Kitsap Master Gardeners

Need composting advice? The WSU Extension Kitsap Master Gardeners maintain three composting demo sites:

  • Anna Smith Learning Garden at Tracyton Boulevard & Fairgrounds Road, Bremerton. Gardeners on-site Wednesdays 9am-noon, April - September. 
  • The Heritage Garden at Kitsap County Fairgrounds, Bremerton. Gardeners on-site Tuesdays 9am-11am, April - September. 
  • Blueberry Park Community Garden at 737 Sylvan Way, Bremerton. Gardeners on-site Thursdays 9am-noon, April - September.