To make it easier for consumers to compost kitchen scraps and yard wastes, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has made home composting bins available to cities and towns each year through its recycling equipment grant program.

Two styles of compost bins are available through the MassDEP grant program: Earth Machine and New Age Composter. Both are easy to assemble, rodent-resistent and allow for efficient aerobic composting. They are made from a minimum of 50 percent post-consumer recycled plastic collected or processed in Massachusetts.

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. Bins retail for between $60 and $100, but are available to residents of communities that receive grants at subsidized prices of between $25 and $35 each.

To Obtain a Compost Bin

See the list below and call the contact person listed for your community or a neighboring city or town.

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

The 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 2007, about 258 communities participated in the statewide compost bin grant program, distributing nearly 109,000 bins. In many of these communities, bins are still available. Under the state's grant program, municipalities use revenue from bin sales to purchase additional bins. After the granted bins have been distributed, communities may continue to order bins under a MassDEP statewide contract for between $33 and $53, depending on type.

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