To make it easier for consumers to compost kitchen scraps and yard wastes, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) between 1994 and 2008 granted home composting bins to towns and cities that they could sell at subsidized prices. Many communities still sell compost bins at or below cost.

The most commonly available bins are the Earth Machine (which holds 10 cubic feet of material) and the New Age Composter (with a capacity of 24 cubic feet). Both are easy to assemble, rodent-resistant and allow for efficient aerobic composting. They are made from a minimum of 50 percent post-consumer recycled plastic.

Images of Earth Machine & New Age Composter

An average household can compost between 500 and 1,000 pounds of organic material each year in one of these bins, producing a rich soil supplement out of material that would otherwise be thrown away. These bins retail for between $80 and $120, but are available in some communities that received grants at subsidized prices of between $25 and $75 each, depending on type.

To Obtain a Compost Bin

See the list below and call the contact person listed for your community or a neighboring town or city that sells bins to non-residents.

Massachusetts Compost Bin Distribution Programs, April 2014 pdf format of Massachusetts Compost Bin Distribution Programs
xls format of binprogs.xls  

Compost Bin Grants

Through MassDEP Sustainable Materials Recovery Program (SMRP) grants, municipalities may apply under the Small Scale Initiatives Category for funds to purchase compost bins. Encourage your community to apply for this grant so it can make low-cost compost bins available locally.

The first MassDEP compost bin grant program began with a fiscal year 1993 pilot project in western Massachusetts. About 5,300 bins were distributed to residents of the region. A follow-up survey revealed that 92 percent of the bins were in use one year later, and that people were putting out an average of 27 percent less garbage for disposal after they started composting.

Between 1994 and 2008, about 258 communities received MassDEP grants and distributed about 110,000 bins. Even with grant funds now gone, communities may continue to order bins under a statewide contract for between $43 and $60, depending on type. If your town or city does not distribute compost bins, check the list below to see if it ever received a grant and for contact information to ask if local officials would consider restarting the program.

List of MassDEP Compost Bin Recipients, 1994-2008 pdf format of List of MassDEP Compost Bin Recipients, 1994-2008
doc format of List of MassDEP Compost Bin Recipients, 1994-2008

To learn more about home composting or the bin grant program, contact Ann McGovern: 617-292-5834 or ann.mcgovern@state.ma.us