Complete the Cycle with Compost

Submitted by the Sustainability Working Group

Composting plays a vital role in sustainability by cutting back on food waste and drastically reducing environmentally unfriendly fertilizers that run down storm drains and into our rivers and streams.

What is compost?

• Compost is a natural process of recycling organic matter like leaves and food scraps into nutrients that enrich soil and helps plants to grow.

• Microorganisms like fungi, bacteria, and other microbes decompose food and other materials using biodegradation, which is the process of breaking down materials into smaller pieces.

Why is compost good?

• Composting reduces the food waste that would otherwise go into landfills.

• Waste in landfills releases methane when it decomposes. Put items into your compost instead and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

• Compost is a natural food source for your soil. Reduce loading synthetic fertilizers and harmful chemicals into the environment and use compost instead

• Compost helps soil hold more water. By using compost, your gardens will not need as much water and will have higher yields compared to farming with degraded soil.

As you prepare your traditional foods garden, rain garden, or native plants garden, consider using soil from your own compost pile. You can compost!

Dos and Don’ts of composting

  1. Do: Separate your compostable food waste from your other garbage.
  2. Do: Designate a compost container or pile in a dry shady spot to prevent it from getting too soggy.
  3. Do: Keep your pile between three and five square feet.
  4. Do: Add your grass clippings, coffee grounds, dead leaves, twigs and paper too.
  5. Do: Maintain old and new plant material for the microbes to remain active.
  6. Do: Turn your pile once a week during summer and once a month during winter.
  7. Don’t: Add pet liter or excrements of any kind to your compost.
  8. Don’t: Add bones, eggs, meat, dairy or grease to the mix.

Complete the cycle by turning your food waste into rich soil. Help Mother Nature turn things that would normally be thrown in the garbage into a usable product that will help you grow healthy, traditional foods and bring life to native plants.

For more info, visit to read further about composting and the difference you can make.

Tips for a cheap and easy way to make a compost bin:

The City of Tacoma offers curbside food and yard waste collection. To get started or learn more about food and yard waste collection, contact a Solid Waste Representative at 253-502-2100 or