BeLocal Mt. Airy would like to thank local high school student Avery Renshaw for this article and local survey on home composting in Mount Airy. She is becoming a regular contributor to our site, and clearly an outstanding contributor to our community as well.

Composting at Home

By: Avery Renshaw

According to a report by the EPA, in 2010 Americans produced around 250 million tons of municipal waste, or everyday items used and thrown out. 250 million tons! And that’s only one country’s everyday garbage; that number doesn’t include the commercial, industrial, or agricultural waste that America produces. Another statistic to chew on is that also in 2010, the average individual waste generation was 4.43 pounds per person per day. Imagine how large would be the entire world’s collective garbage pile!

Have you ever thought about what you can do at home to reduce your impact on waste generation? Composting is one solution that is both easy and highly beneficial. It is estimated that more than half of municipal waste is compostable, but the amount of waste that is actually composted falls far below half. Composting enriches your soil, saves you money, reduces landfill waste, recycles kitchen and yard waste, and is good for the environment. You can start at home by creating a pile of “green” and “brown” items.

Do Compost

Green” Items 

(high nitrogen content)

  • Kitchen scraps ·
  • Fruits·
  • Vegetables ·
  • Eggshells ·
  • Grass clippings ·
  • Coffee grounds & filters/teabags·
  • Nutshells

“Brown” Items

(high carbon content)

  • Herbivore manure
  • Dead Leaves/hay/straw
  • Shredded paper/cardboard/newspaper
  • Wet/dry paper towels & napkins
  • Wood chips/bark/mulch
  • Hair/fur

DON’T Compost:

  • Carnivore manure
  • Meat/bones
  • Fats/oils/grease/lard
  • Dairy products
  • Coal/charcoal
  • Large branches/logs

To maintain a compost pile, try and have an equal balance of green and brown items. Keep the pile about as moist as a wrung-out sponge, and turn it every week or so with a shovel or pitchfork to aerate the pile and allow for decomposition. Watch as you turn your everyday waste into rich soil for the garden! Encourage your friends and family to compost to make a difference and reduce their statistics.

Here is what composting looks like in our community…

Do You Compost

Likelyhood of Composting

Source: “Municipal Solid Waste | Wastes | US EPA.” US Environmental Protection Agency. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 May 2013. <;.

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