Composting: How and Where to Get Started in Parsippany
Info on composting in Parsippany, plus where to get free and low-cost compost for your garden.
If composting is an activity you've considered on the way to living greener, here's what you need to know to get started in Parsippany from an expert on the subject.
"Home composting is a fun and easy way to make fabulous and free soil amendments to make all the plants in your garden healthier," said Emily Bishton, a designer of sustainable landscapes and an environmental educator for children and adults. "It also eliminates the carbon emissions that are needed to truck your food and yard waste to composting facilities, truck the finished compost back to a retail outlet and then to your home.”
Collecting Kitchen Compost
Composting starts in the kitchen. First, you'll want to set up a system for catching compostable materials during your meal and snack clean-up process. These include vegetable scraps, grains and pasta, fruit rinds and peels, breads and cereals, coffee grounds and filters, tea bags, egg shells and paper napkins. Here's a list of things you can or cannot compost.
You'll need a small container with a tight-fitting lid for the kitchen that can be cleaned easily once you transfer the compostable materials to your outside compost bin. You'll want to keep the outside of the container clean and empty it frequently to avoid excessive odor and fruit flies. You can purchase compost pails online from Gardeners Supply Company or a stylish pottery one from artist Kim Berger. Check the list of local resources below.
Outdoor Compost Bins and Piles
It's fast and easy to create an outdoor compost bin, according to Bishton.
“You can create a yard waste compost bin in 10 minutes, with a 10-15 foot section of wire fencing made into a hoop to toss all your trimmings and leaves into," she said. "Wet it down until it's like a damp sponge, and cover with some cardboard or old plastic and you're done! Turn and re-wet it every few weeks to speed up the composting or just let it decompose as is."
If you've got a small yard, you may want to take the alternate path of purchasing an enclosed compost bin. See the list of local resources down the page.
It turns out, if you're a passionate gardener who's after really great compost, you need a worm bin. If you're already collecting kitchen scraps (vegetable, fruit and grains only, no meat or dairy), this is where the kids come in. They can help manage the worm bin. It's easy once you get started with the proper bedding and feeding method. You can build your own worm bin or purchase worms and bins at one of the local resources listed below.
A Family Affair
Composting as a family is a fun activity and a great way to help kids learn to be better stewards of the environment, Bishton said.
“Decomposition is a very interesting and fun-to-observe natural process for kids, as they typically enjoy exploring the 'unseen world' of roly-polys, worms, and potato bugs," she explained.
She said getting the whole family involved is one of the easiest and most empowering ways for children to make an earth-friendly impact at home.
"Get them involved in checking the progress of the compost by occasionally tossing some out onto a piece of tarp for them to poke around in," she suggested. "Spreading the beautiful 'black gold' of finished compost over the roots of their favorite garden plants is fun too!”
Can't Make It? Get Free Compost.
Did you know that Morris County residents are eligible to receive free compost? It's true: The Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority Vegetative Waste Compost Facility is located in Parsippany, directly behind the Public Safety Training Academy at 500 West Hanover Ave. From spring to fall, the MCMUA sells and delivers truckload quantities of compost and mulch recycled from vegetative waste—trees, leaves, grass and brush from contracting municipalities, contractors and landscapers. Free compost and mulch is made available to residents just outside the gates to pick up and low-cost compost can be delivered. The Parsippany compost facility's regular hours are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m. For more information, call 973-285-8389.
1855 Route 46
780 Route 46
440 Littleton Road
621 Edwards Road
Ready to get started? Here are some of our favorite resources from around the web.
Tell Us: Do you compost at home? Or are you thinking of starting to compost?