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Local. Sustainable. Wicked Good.

What is Compostable?

Here at Green Mountain Compost, we make compost on a large scale. Unlike most backyard compost piles, our compost is carefully formulated using a wide variety of inputs and even our smallest piles are huge weighing in at hundreds of tons of mixed ingredients per pile! We actively aerate our piles and frequently monitor them to maintain the ideal amounts of oxygen and moisture for the microbial web that drives the composting process. By achieving ideal conditions, our pile temperatures get really hot really quickly – sometimes within hours.

The high temperatures of our compost process allow us to accept many items that simply don’t work in a backyard compost pile. While you might want to think twice before adding meat, bones, or other potentially tasty treats for four legged critters to your backyard compost pile, these ingredients work great for our composting process. Other materials such as dirt, sod, and metal don’t work so well and are not acceptable in our compost.

Please Contact Us if you are unsure whether or not your item is compostable.

Acceptable Materials

1. Food and Beverages

If it’s edible, we can compost it! This includes:

  • Fats and oil
  • Meat and bones
  • Fish and seafood, including shells
  • Fruits & vegetables
  • Eggs and egg shells
  • Milk, cheese, and all other dairy products
  • Bread and grains
  • Coffee grounds and tea leaves
  • Condiments (salad dressing, ketchup, etc.)

2. Lawn and Garden Debris

The leaf and garden bunker at Green Mountain Compost accepts:
Leaves, grass clippings, garden plants, hay, straw, sawdust, undyed mulch, up to a ½ cubic yard of sod, and invasive, noxious, or diseased plants*.  NO BRANCHES, WOOD OR DIRT.

*Invasive, Noxious, or Diseased Plants: Before dumping, please stop in the office and notify a staff member so that we can handle the material appropriately. Our composting process involves high enough temperatures to ensure destruction of spores and seeds and prevention of spreading.

Bag the plant material, ideally in a paper grocery bag or a compostable leaf bag (available at hardware stores and garden centers). Exercise extra caution when handling noxious plants, the sap from which can cause severe burns or blindness. If using plastic bags, you MUST empty the plant out of the bag and dispose of the bag yourself.

View our page on invasive, noxious, and diseased plants for more information, including how to identify common varieties in Chittenden County.

Note: Dirt and soil—including back fill, clean fill, stones, and over a ½ cubic yard of sod—are not considered lawn and garden debris. We do not accept these materials.

Update: Green Mountain Compost no longer accepts woody material of any size.  All clean wood including branches, brush, logs, stumps, tree limbs, tree trimmings, sticks, and twigs should be brought to the McNeil Wood and Yard Debris Depot or to the “clean wood” area of any CSWD Drop-off Center, with the exception of Burlington and Hinesburg.

3. Farm Manure

Manures and wood chip or paper bedding from small livestock (chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, etc.) are acceptable.

NO cat, dog, or human waste, though!

Please contact us if you would like to drop off horse or cow manure.

4. Compostable Products

We accept compostable items that meet very specific standards; not all compostable products are created equally. Please see the Compostable Products page for details on these standards.

View compostable products

We Do Not Accept These Items

  • Woody material
  • Petroleum-based plastic of any kind
  • Coated or waxed paper
  • Bio-plastic products that are labeled biodegradable, degradable, photo-degradable, oxo-degradable, etc. (We only accept products that have the “compostable” BPI logo or state “meets ASTM standards for compostability”)
  • Dirt/Fill/Stumps (Go to for where to bring these items.)
  • Cat, dog, or human waste
  • Diapers, including diapers labeled “compostable”
  • Styrofoam
  • Metals, including foil wrapping and twist ties
  • Toxic materials such as paints, solvents, pesticides, or petroleum products. How to properly dispose of hazardous waste.

Find disposal options for your non-compostable items: search the CSWD A-Z list.