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Local. Sustainable. Wicked Good.

Frequently Asked Questions about Compost

Where can I drop off my food scraps and leaves?

Bring them to our new facility at 1042 Redmond Road in Williston! All quantities welcome. Leaves must be loose or in compostable paper yard debris bags only (no plastic bags allowed).

You can also bring your food scraps and yard and garden debris to any CSWD Drop-Off Center for composting.

More information on what types of material we accept.


Why Compost?

Compost is nature’s all-in-one product. It adds nutrients, organic matter and helpful micro-organisms to your lawns, gardens and potted plants.

Good for plants! Grow Healthier Lawns and Gardens

Composting adds nutrients, organic matter and helpful micro-organisms to your lawns, gardens, and potted plants. GMC Complete Compost greatly improves soil structure by reducing soil compaction, increasing air filtration, and introducing beneficial fungi, bacteria, and other microorganism necessary for healthy soil.

One teaspoon of compost contains billions of organisms. This complex web of microbiology enables efficient nutrient uptake by plants and helps them out-compete potentially harmful bacteria, fungi and other critters. Compost can literally bring a depleted or damaged soil back to life, resulting in strong root systems and happy plants!

Good for the Environment! Protect Households and the Environment

GMC Complete Compost contains NO chemicals or sewage sludge. You are protecting your local streams and lakes by using this all-natural soil enhancer. Unlike many commercial fertilizers designed to give an immediate boost of nutrients to your plants or lawn, compost releases nutrients over time while also improving the quality of the soil meaning more nutrients for your lawn and garden and less running off into nearby bodies of water.

Instead of letting your kids and animals out on a lawn with commercial fertilizers and pesticides, improve the long-term health of your lawn with a layer of compost.

Good for you! Water Less, Weed Less, Fertilize Less

Using compost saves you time and money by letting nature do more of the work for you. GMC  Complete Compost naturally fertilizes, helps your soil retain moisture, and is always weed free.

What can I use compost for?

GMC Complete Compost is excellent for:

  • Soil building for gardens
  • Revitalizing depleted or damaged soils
  • Planting Trees and Shrubs
  • Mulching
  • Top-dressing lawns and athletic fields
  • Establishing new lawns
  • Custom growing mixes
  • Lawn-to-Garden Conversions
  • Storm water retention and treatment
  • Erosion Control

How is Green Mountain Compost made?

GMC Complete Compost is a very mature, fully composted, and odor free compost. It is an all-natural product made form a diverse blend of:

  • Yard Trimmings – Leaves and garden trimmings from local residents and landscapers
  • Food Scraps – From restaurants, supermarkets, cafeterias and food manufacturers
  • Wood Chips
  • Select Farm Manures
  • High Carbon Wood Ash
  • Compost is screened to 3/8”
  • No sewage sludge or chemicals are added

Once blended, our compost is kept under aerobic conditions where a large diversity of microbial life go to work converting waste into the dark, rich compost we know and love.

What is the nutrient analysis of Green Mountain Compost?

Green Mountain Compost’s Complete Compost changes only very slightly from batch to batch. Click here for our most recent analysis.

What is the pH of Green Mountain Compost products?

The pH of GMC Complete Compost is typically above neutral or slightly alkaline. For planting or amending soils around blueberries, azaleas, rhododendrons, and other acid-loving plants, we recommend adjusting the pH of the soil over time by adding elemental sulfur or peat moss or by mulching with pine needles or pine bark mulch.

The pH of GMC Complete Topsoil is usually very close to neutral, but can also be amended with sulfur (to increase acidity) or lime (to increase alkalinity) depending on desired growing conditions.

Annual soil tests are the best way to tell what your lawn or garden needs for whatever it is you’re trying to grow. Contact your local agricultural college or extension service for a soil test sample kit and more information.

What’s this white fungus-like stuff growing in my compost?

Green Mountain Compost soil mixes are not sterilized. Our compost and compost-based mixes are full of beneficial microorganisms that play a key part in helping your plants grow. Given the right conditions, you may see white mycelium from beneficial fungi interacting with other components of the soil. This is normal and is not harmful to your plants.

What Can I Compost?

Please see our What is Compostable? page.

What to do with your non-compostable items

What are PAHs?

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), are a group of compounds formed from incomplete combustion that are normally present in varying concentrations in urban environments. They are released into the atmosphere every time we run our vehicles, light a fire to heat our homes, or smoke a cigarette. You also find them on burnt toast or charred meat. They’re pretty much everywhere in our environment.

PAHs are present in minute quantities (parts per billion) in Green Mountain Compost products. The reason that PAHs are showing up in our products is that a large part of the mix of ingredients in our compost is leaves and yard waste. PAHs are readily absorbed into leaves during their lifespan. PAHs break down much more slowly than other materials that make up our compost, which can result in concentrations that may be equal to or slightly higher than normal background levels found in soil in the greater Burlington area.

The State of Vermont has determined that PAHs do not pose acute health risks at low levels such as those found in our compost when applied according to normal usage guidelines (a ratio of 1 part compost to a minimum of 2 parts native soil). Other products, such as Seed Starter Mix and Potting Soil, contain only a small amount of compost and therefore fall well within established guidelines.

PAHs are byproducts of an urban environment. As long as people keep driving their vehicles and heating their homes, we cannot completely prevent them from entering the compost.

There are currently no State or Federal standards for PAHs in compost. We will continue to work with the State of Vermont to ensure that PAHs found in our compost remain within acceptable levels by taking the following measures:

  1. Institute sampling regimen on feedstock suspected to contain PAHs and on every finished lot of compost
  2. Leaves from sources that may have high concentrations of PAHs will be segregated and not used to produce compost
  3. Run an experiment to determine whether more aeration will speed up the breakdown of PAHs
  4. Continue working with the State of Vermont to investigate background PAH contamination levels that exist in leaves and soils around the region

PAH Results

Green Mountain Compost Soil Analysis 1-19-12

Where can I bring wood and Christmas trees?

Green Mountain Compost does not accept woody material larger than 1/4 inch in diameter. Please bring large, woody material to the McNeil Wood and Yard Waste Depot. They also accept Christmas trees free of tinsel, paint, and other decorations. For other options on where to bring wood including stumps, see the CSWD A to Z list.

Do you accept biodegradable, compostable, or photodegradable plastics?

Some plastics are labeled “degradable,” “photodegradable,” or “biodegradable.” These products may disintegrate depending on conditions, but are not by definition “compostable” and are not accepted at Green Mountain Compost. See more detail on compostable plastic producst that we do accept on our Compostable Products page.

Do you deliver?


We can deliver up to 8 yards of Compost, Top Soil and Raised Bed mix or up to 10 yards of Mulch or Microbe Mulch.

We can also arrange for deliveries of up to 30 yards for customers with larger needs. Give us a call at 660-4949, and we’ll quote you a price. Or place an order online.

Are Green Mountain Compost products organic?

While all Premium Green Mountain Compost bagged products are approved for use on organic farms and gardens, GMC bulk Compost, Topsoil and Raised Bed mix, Microbe Mulch, bag your own compost, and bagged Complete Compost are not approved for organic uses due to the inclusion in the recipe of compostable bio-plastics. As of 2012, compostable bio-plastics are no longer accepted by the National Organics Program as a feedstock in compost for certified organic applications.

How much compost do I need?

You need to decide how much area (in square feet) you want to cover, and then the depth of coverage you want to achieve. We suggest one to three inches for existing vegetable gardens and fall cover crops, between a quarter and half an inch for existing lawns and raised flower beds.

With these numbers, you can calculate your needs using the following equation:

Area (square feet) * Depth (inches) * 0.0031 = Compost (cubic yards)

What’s the difference between compost and topsoil?

All of our products (except Pine Bark Mulch) are made with a base of our Complete Compost. Depending on your soil type and what you’re trying to accomplish, you may want to use straight compost or you may want to use one of our specially formulated soil blends.  Go to our Compost v. Topsoil comparison to see which product is best for your needs.

Does compost smell?

No, because our compost is very mature and fully composted there is no odor apart from a subtle earthy smell apparent in all good compost.