How to Compost Garbage


A compost pile is a great way to recycle and reduce the amount of garbage you produce every day. The key to composting garbage effectively is knowing what to compost. Compost piles only break down organic material like food and garden waste and some paper products. When composting kitchen waste, think of your garbage can as vegan. No animal products, save eggshells, should go into your compost pile.

Step 1

Cut the garbage up into small pieces. The smaller the pieces in your compost pile, the more quickly they will decompose.

Step 2

Spread the garbage on top of the compost pile.

Step 3

Turn the compost pile. Use a shovel or stick to mix the contents until the garbage is evenly distributed throughout the pile. Turn the pile every time you add more material or at least once weekly (the more frequently you turn your compost pile, the more quickly the added material will decompose).

Step 4

Check the moisture level of the compost pile after one day. Ideally, a compost pile should be just about as moist as a wrung-out sponge. If your compost pile is too moist, it likely contains too much "green" or moist food and plant scrap material. Dry it out by adding dry material like dried leaves or twigs, cotton or wool rags, paper towels, newspaper or even dryer lint (remember to shred it).

Step 5

Sprinkle a handful of garden soil over the top of your compost pile once every month or so. This will add a fresh supply of the organisms responsible for breaking down the garbage.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not compost pet waste. It contains organisms that humans should not come into contact with. Check with your city's ordinances to make sure that they allow composting food scraps. Food scraps attract pests, and some cities have passed laws against it.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost bin
  • Shovel or stick
  • Scissors
  • Garden soil


  • Free Composting: How to Compost Kitchen Scraps
  • All Around the House: Welcome to Composting
  • Compost Heaven: Kitchen Waste Composting

Who Can Help

  • Garden Organic: What to Compost
Keywords: compost garbage, compost pile, compost scraps

About this Author

Emma Gin is a freelance writer who specializes in green, healthy and smart living. She is currently working on developing a weight-loss website that focuses on community and re-education. Gin is also working on a collection of short stories, because she knows what they say about idle hands.