How to: Compost Your Cookout

*Please note that Green Mountain Compost and all CSWD drop-off centers will be closed on Labor Day.
Please check the CSWD web site for normal hours of operation.*

With Labor Day weekend just ahead and the days growing noticeably shorter, many of us will be making the most of the season with outdoor activities this Labor Day weekend. After all, we Vermonters do suffer from seemingly endless winters.

If you are one of the wise ones wishing to not waste a single moment of summer bliss, consider the other types of waste you can avoid by composting your food scraps from this weekend’s cookout or event.

(For even more, check out Be a Zero Hero: How to Plan a Zero Waste Event on the CSWD blog.)


About one-third of the waste we produce in Chittenden County is compostable, meaning that it is composed of organic material that will decompose given the right conditions.

Why put compostables in the trash – only to be trucked to a landfill in the Northeastern part of the state – when they could be turned into a valuable soil resource?

“Sounds nice, but it seems like a lot of trouble,” you say.
“It’s icky…” you think.

Hogwash! Whether you choose to compost in your own yard or take advantage of the free food scrap collection offered at CSWD Drop-off Centers, with a little help from Green Mountain Compost (GMC) you’ll find that doing the right thing doesn’t have to be a lot of extra work.



How to Compost Your Cookout

Before you get that T-bone marinating, put into practice some of GMC’s great tips on how to get your food scraps out of the trash and into the soil this weekend – and beyond!

Set up a mini waste station for your guests

Put out receptacles for recycling, compost, and landfill trash.

Not sure what’s compostable? Check out the list of accepted materials on our web site.
Need buckets? Stop by Green Mountain Compost for free compost collection buckets.
Need event bins? Borrow some recycling & compost bins for free from CSWD.


Use Re-usable

Rather than spending money on disposable dinnerware, consider using the washable kind sitting right there in your cabinets. Encourage guests to wash what they use. Most people don’t mind a bit (and if they do, maybe it’s high time to re-vamp that guest list!).


Use Renewable

You could also try using compostable products made from renewable resources such as corn, sugar cane, grasses, palm leaves, and even wood instead of petroleum-derived plastic. These are available locally at some food and garden retail outlets, as well as on-line. There are many products out there, and it can be confusing to know what is truly compostable. Before you buy, be sure to check the compostable products page of our website for purchasing guidelines.

So grab a beverage, a burger and a compost bucket, experience the warmth of friends and sunshine, and know that you’ve done your part in keeping valuable organic resources away from our landfill and back into the soil. Winter’s just around the corner, folks – grab all the feel-good you can get!


We want to hear from you! Tell us what worked – and what didn’t – at your event. Tweet us @greenmtcompost or find us on Facebook.


 Image credits:
Summer Grilling, by Maya83. CC 2.0
Compost Hands, by Kessner Photography. CC 2.5
Fourth of July Panhandle Cookout, by Bill Couch. CC 2.0

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