Archive for September, 2009

San Francisco Mandates Country’s Most Comprehensive Composting Program

San Francisco is leading the way in requiring its citizens to compost and recycle solid waste.  According to this article, San Francisco recycles approximately 72 percent of its waste, which is the best percentage in the country.  Read more about this bold move towards composting…

Posted by Janet

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors this week overwhelmingly passed what is likely the country’s most comprehensive recycling and composting ordinance. The Board voted 9-2 to require residents and business owners to sort recyclables, food waste and trash for weekly collection, in an effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions and, ultimately, make the city landfill- and incinerator-free by 2020.
The ordinance, which will take effect this fall, provides fines for failure to comply with the recycling/composting regulations.

San Francisco currently recycles about 72 percent of its waste, the best percentage in the country. Composting food waste could up that figure to 90 percent, according to some estimates. Additionally, food scraps, plant waste and other organic materials decompose in landfills, creating methane, a greenhouse gas that is 20 times more potent than CO2. According to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, an organization dedicated to environmentally friendly development, the global warming impact of methane emissions in the short term is 72 times greater than the impact of CO2. (See Methane to Energy post above)

In a June 2008 report, Stop Trashing the Climate, the Institute noted that reducing materials going to landfills and incinerators could be equivalent to shuttering 21 percent of the country’s 417 coal-fired energy plants.

“San Francisco has the best recycling and composting programs in the nation,” Mayor Gavin Newsom said. “We can build on our success.”

The city sends its food scraps and other compostable material each day to the Jepson-Prairie composting facility in Vacaville, Calif. Owned by Recology, the facility uses the scraps to create soil amendments that it sells to vineyards, retail soil bagging operations, landscapers and the erosion control industry,

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For more information about composting at home visit


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How to Compost Leaves the Easy Way

  Raking up Future Compost!

Fall is coming and so are those wonderful leaves.  Yes, I said  wonderful leaves!  Did you know that those leaves falling outside  your window are a great source of organic material for making compost? 

It’s true—leaves are an excellent organic material for making compost for a couple of reasons:

1.    Since trees usually have extensive root systems, leaves end up being the recipient of all those nutrients gathered from the soil.

2.    Leaves are highly fibrous improving the aeration and composition of the soil.

Now, I can hear you saying, "I tried to compost my leaves, but it  didn’t work."  Probably most people have had some negative experience trying to compost leaves.  Actually, leaves can take several years to break down if you fail to compost them properly.  Don’t worry, learning how to compost leaves is not nearly as difficult as you may think. We are going to show you the easy way to compost leaves.

The first question many people ask is "What kind of leaves work best for composting?"  Just about any typical leaf works great.   Here are some of the most common leaf types:

·         White Ash

·         American Beech

·         Balsam Fir

·         Eastern Hemlock

·         Red Maple

·         Sugar Maple

·         White Oak

We should mention that if oak or beech leaves are used exclusively the resulting compost will be a bit more acidic making it quite suitable for plants such as rhododendrons and blueberries.  You  can lower the acidity by adding some limestone to the leaves as you fill your compost bin or compost pile.

There are two important things that you must do when you compost leaves to ensure that your leaves will compost properly.  The first thing is to make sure your leaves are shredded when adding them to your composter, compost tumbler or compost pile.

Shredding your leaves is quite easy.  You can mow over them several times before you rake them up.  Also, there are a number of  manufacturers who make shredder / chippers that work great for  leaves.  I even had a gasoline powered blower that had a vacuum attachment for picking up leaves, which left the leaves in a nice shredded state.

The second important thing you must do when you compost leaves is to make sure that you add nitrogen to your compost bin or compost pile.   Leaves contain very little nitrogen.  It is this lack of nitrogen that causes the leaves to decay slowly.  Adding nitrogen to your compost bin or compost pile will help to speed up the decomposition process of the leaves.   Adding nitrogen can be as simple as adding grass clippings with the leaves as you fill your compost tumbler or compost bin.

Other sources of nitrogen include manure, dried blood, alfalfa meal, and bone meal.  If you are using manure, use one part manure to five parts leaves.  If you are using a natural source of nitrogen such as dried blood, use two cups per wheelbarrow load of leaves.

Once you have shredded your leaves and found an additional nitrogen source, you simply add your leaves and nitrogen source to your compost tumbler, compost bin or compost pile and keep the leaves moist but not wet and allow nature to do its thing.  You will of course want to keep your leaves turned on a fairly regular basis if you are using a compost bin or compost pile.

If you want to make the composting process quicker and easier, a compost  tumbler works the best.  With a compost tumbler you are able to easily turn your compost on a weekly basis keeping the organic material well-mixed thereby speeding up the decomposition process.  With a compost  tumbler you can have compost in as little as 3 or 4 weeks.

A great compost tumbler for composting leaves is the Tumbleweed Compost Tumbler.

  Tumbleweed Compost Tumbler

If you are looking for a very simplistic compost bin to use to compost your leaves, the Wishing Well Compost Bin fits the bill just fine.

  Wishing Well Compost Bin

Hopefully, at this point you will look on those falling leaves a little more favorably.  Taking some time to compost leaves in the fall will result in great compost to use in your garden in the spring.  So go outside, rake some leaves and make some compost!

Both of the composters mentioned above are available in our Store and they include FREE SHIPPING.

For additional information on composting you may want to read  "What Can You Compost?"  You can also check out our website for more information on composting and a great selection of composting products.  Happy raking and composting!

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Wishing Well Composter Compost Bin Review

Fall is coming fast and it is going to be time to start raking leaves.  Why not turn those leaves into nutrient-rich compost for your spring flowers and garden?

The Wishing Well Composter Compost Bin is the perfect solution for turning those leaves into wonderful compost.  This large round compost bin holds 18 cubic feet of material, which is over 50% more capacity than most other compost bins on the market.  Just dump all those leaves from your yard into the Wishing Well Composter and end up with great compost for your garden. 

The Wishing Well Compost Bin is very sturdy and extremely simple to assemble.  In fact, assembly only takes 15 minutes and requires no tools!  The Wishing Well Compost Bin also includes a “Guide to Backyard Composting.”


  • Attractive brick pattern
  • 30" tall X 36" diameter
  • 18 cubic feet or 135 gallon capacity
  • Comes with Lid with central rainwater hole
  • Handholds for lifting bin from contents
  • 2 ft. access gate
  • Stainless steel hardware

Purchase your very own Wishing Well Composter Compost Bin from our Store.
All orders ship FREE!

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Compost Equals Electricity – Who Would Have Thought!

Generating electricity from compost—amazing!  Be sure and read more about how an incinerator plant in England is going to start using food waste to generate electricity, thereby reducing the amount of garbage making its way to landfills…

By Sarah Cosgrove » Enfield Independent

LEFT over burgers, sandwiches and kebabs could be turned into electricity if recycling at the Edmonton Incinerator steps up a gear.

The facility, which is now called LondonWaste EcoPark, is considering breaking down food waste to reduce the amount sent to landfill sites.

The process is known as anaerobic digestion – anaerobic means without oxygen – and is composting without air.

Food waste is ground up and mixed with water, within a specially designed and sealed tank.

This material is then ‘digested’ or broken down and the biogas produced can be harnessed and used to generate heat and electricity as a source of renewable energy.

A fertilizer is also produced which can be used as fertilizer for agriculture.

London alone produces nearly three million tons of food waste, from discarded food, which could be converted into heat and power.

The proposed new facility would primarily be for commercial customers at first.

David Sargent, managing director at LondonWaste, said: “It is clean, green and efficient and has been particularly welcomed by environmental experts.

“Our plans for anaerobic digestion are at an early stage and we will be taking everyone’s comments on board as we develop our plans further. When we have more detailed plans we will be able to consult people again.”

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