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City of Colorado Springs / Environmental Sustainability / Frequently Asked Questions / Compost

Frequently Asked Questions - Environmental Sustainability
Compost

Q: What can I do with my yard waste?

A: 

Yard waste can be composted in your backyard and turned into nutrient-rich soil.

The El Paso County Yard Waste Recycling Program is FREE (with donation of non-perishible food items for Care & Share - can goods, packaged noodles, or cash) and is open every Saturday 8am-4pm at Rocky Top Resources, 1755 E. Las Vegas Street, 579-9103.  Over the last 5 years, donations have accounted for nearly 1,000,000 pounds of food for the Care & Share Food Bank!

Acceptable materials:
-Branches, leaves, pine needles and grass
-Tree limbs, max length = 8 feet, max diameter = 8 inches
-NO railroad ties, lumber, tree stumps, or household trash

Note: This material was generated from the El Paso County Recycling Directory.  For questions and more information click here.



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Q: How do I compost in Colorado Springs?

A: 

In Colorado Springs, waste services are handled by private businesses. However, residents who compost provide their community with valuable environmental benefits while benefiting from an opportunity to reduce trash expenses.
 
Did you know?
  • Composting yard and kitchen waste avoids the production of methane (a highly potent greenhouse gas that is expecially harmful at high elevations such as Colorado) and leachate (highly toxic) formulation in the landfills.
  • Clay and sandy soils are significantly improved by compost amendment. This allows vegetation to grow better and stormwater to be absorbed and retained at higher levels. In combination, this not only helps homeowners maintain landscaping, but also lessens the impact on the City’s stormwater system which can decrease waterway pollution and prevent expensive erosion projects.
  • Compost helps cleanup contaminated soil.
  • Using compost reduces the need for water, fertilizer, and pesticides.
Steps
  1. Choose a convenient composting site with partial shade and protection from drying winds.
  2. Add moisture as needed to prevent drying out (water used to rinse vegetables or cooled water used to cook pasta work fine)
  3. Ensure oxygen access by turning a minimum of several times a week
  4. Click here for a Colorado State University Extension guide on how to compost in Colorado.
Do's
  • Use kitchen waste such as vegetable scraps, grains, coffee grounds and eggshells.
  • Use yard waste such as leaves, flowers, and grass clippings.
  • Use a blender to liquefy kitchen waste in areas where bears or raccoons may be attracted to scraps (this also speeds up the process).

Don'ts

  • Use plants that were diseased or treated with weed killers.
  • Use cat or dog feces.
  • Use weeds (unless they are not seeding or your compost heats up to 122 degrees). 
Resources
Pikes Peak Urban Gardens
Colorado State University Extension
US Environmental Protection Agency
Bestway Disposal Commercial Composting Service
Starbucks Coffee Grounds
 
Compliance Information
It is perfectly legal for residents to compost in Colorado Springs. However, homeowner associations may have charters that prevent homeowners from composting. If so, consider working with your homeowner association to change or modify restrictions to enable residents to reap the environmental and economical benefits of composting. It may also be possible to still use trench composting (which creates no "pile") - especially if combined with the blender method mentioned above to encourage almost immediate absorption back into the soil.
City Code 6.4.104:
D. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the accumulation of by any person on private property. The accumulation of the compost shall not be in a condition which is dangerous to the public health, safety and welfare. For the purposes of this section, "compost" shall mean a mixture consisting of decayed organic matter used for fertilizing and conditioning land.
E. It shall be unlawful and shall constitute a nuisance for any person to maintain a compost pile which substantially annoys, injures or endangers the health, safety or welfare of the public. The term "annoy" shall include, but not be limited to, strong offensive odors or the presence of mice, rats, vermin or rodents.

Note: This material was generated from the El Paso County Recycling Directory.  For questions and more information click HERE.


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Q: I don't have a yard, can I still compost?

A: 

Yes you can!

Try Vermicomposting - using earthworms to turn organic wastes into very high quality compost. This is probably the best way of composting kitchen wastes.

These are not the usual big burrowing earthworms that live in garden soil. Called red worms, tiger worms, brandlings, angle worms, manure worms, or red wrigglers, they occupy a different ecological niche, living near the surface where there are high concentrations of organic matter, such as on pastures or in leaf mould, or under compost piles.

You can make a bin out of many different things, keep it inside or out, and if properly maintained you won't even know your worms are there!

Here are some resources from the University of WI to get you started.
 



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