The Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) offers and supports a number of activities and programs to help homeowners, educators and professionals learn about composting:
- Composting Demonstrations. Composting display featuring compost bins, worm bin and handouts. There will be ongoing demonstrations of how to compost and staff on hand to answer questions. See the calendar for current opportunities.
- Workshops for Educators. Bring the fascinating world of earthworms and their ecosystems into your classroom or schoolyard as a way of recycling organic material. Composting is an excellent way to teach about organisms, ecosystems, decomposition and energy transformation. Learn how composting fits into the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. See the calendar for current opportunities
- Network of Home Composters Workshops. These workshops teach the basics of composting and provide information and materials for participants to use to promote composting in their communities. Compost bins are available for $20 or less at some of these workshops. Learn more about these workshops or see the calendar for current opportunities.
- See the MassDEP Calendar for upcoming workshops.
For More Information
Contact Ann McGovern at 617-292-5834 or Ann.McGovern@state.ma.us, or one of the organizations below about regional opportunities. See also MassDEP's guidance on how to conduct a composting workshop: Teaching Residents About Composting: Outline & Talking Points
- City of Boston Recycling Hotline
- Earthworks Projects
- Cape Cod Cooperative Extension
508-362-2511, extension 585
- The Center for EcoTechnology
- Franklin County Solid Waste Management District
- Hilltown Resource Management Cooperative
Home composting is the least expensive, most rewarding and environmentally sound method of managing the organic component of our waste stream. Leaves, yard trimmings, kitchen scraps and soiled paper make up nearly half of all household wastes. In addition to being costly, disposal of organic material causes problems at landfills and incinerators. This material is actually a valuable resource which, through composting, can easily be converted to nutrient-rich humus and used to dramatically improve soil quality. Composting is a simple process available to everyone, with or without a backyard.
The goals of the workshops are twofold: to enable participants to gain the information necessary to compost at home, and to establish a "Network of Home Composters" who will educate others in their communities about home composting. Therefore, both novice and experienced composters are encouraged to attend the workshops.
The first half of each workshop covers the basics of composting, including:
- The biological process of decomposition
- What can and cannot be composted in your backyard
- Worm bins - how to compost at home if you don't have a backyard
- How to build a compost pile
- Different types of bins and how to make them; bins available under MassDEP's statewide contract
- How to use finished compost
- How to develop a compost system that fits into your schedule
This part of the workshop includes a 15 minute video presentation, followed by an outdoor composting demonstration and a question and answer session.
The second half of the workshop provides materials and information needed to enable participants to promote and demonstrate home composting in their communities. These materials include:
- Information on bins available to municipalities at cost, through state contract, and/or grants
Outline (script) for a home composting presentation
- Home Composting brochures/masters
- Instructions on bin building
- Worm composting information
- Bibliography of composting literature
- Sample promotional material
- Resource list of slide shows, videotapes and teaching guides available
- How to set up a bin distribution program in your community
During this part of the workshop, each participant develops an action plan to use as a guideline for promoting home composting in his/her community.
Each participant who completes the workshop is given the opportunity to become a member of the Massachusetts Network of Home Composters, a group of volunteers who promote source reduction through home composting. Through their efforts, the practice of home composting will continue to spread throughout Massachusetts, potentially reducing the need for disposal of household wastes by as much as half.
The Network of Home Composters workshops are presented by MassDEP in conjunction with other organizations to encourage the practice of composting to reduce the waste stream and reap many horticultural benefits.