Home and School Composting Information
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Backyard Composting and Vermicomposting Resources and Links

The US Composting Council recognizes that composting is occurring at a variety of different levels across the US; from the homeowners composting some leaves and food scraps in their back yards, to the commercial facilities composting 1000s of cubic yards per year. It’s all good and it’s all part of our national composting infrastructure.

This page on our website is intended to be a reference source of information for the smaller, ‘backyard’ compost producer. We have searched the annals of available information on this topic and have listed links to those sites which we think provide useful and practical information on backyard composting, vermicomposting and some items on Master Gardener programs.


Our friends at the Institute for Local Self Reliance created a webinar and gathered resources on Composting at Home: an Introduction to the Basics.


COMPOSTING during Coronavirus

Residential Composting IS Safe! Read this factsheet.


This is a great place to begin your search for information. It’s an introductory explanation on creating a compost pile in your backyard or indoors, depending on space: http://www2.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home

This link builds on the basics provided above and focuses on backyard composting:

This link examines the basics of composting with worms, or vermicomposting:


CalRecycle (formerly the California Integrated Waste Management Board) produced this 27 page booklet containing a set of do-it-yourself compost bin designs for both backyard composting and vermicomposting. It contains detailed information on materials, tools and composting bin design: /resource/resmgr/images/BuildingYourOwnCompostingBin.pdf

City of San Jose, California
San Jose is very active in recycling and composting. Their website provides information and links to backyard composting, vermicomposting and master gardener programs. Their main page is: https://www.sanjoseca.gov/your-government/environment/homes-green-tips-resources/gardening-composting/home-composting


The Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Master Gardener site has a variety of downloadable fact sheets and Q&A sections on compost production, structures, use and gardening at: http://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/yard-garden/?target=publications


This is Florida’s Backyard Composting Tutorial and Information Website. It’s a wealth of information and instructions on the science and practical application of backyard composting. There are many links contained within this site:


It’s important to recognize how widespread composting is, even in paradise! The cooperative extension service at the University of Hawaii publishes this brief, but helpful pamphlet on the topic:

A 20 page booklet covering a variety of gardening and recycling topics can be found at: http://cleanwaterhonolulu.com/storm/news/backyard_conservation.pdf


The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is the state agency responsible for recycling, composting and mulching. They have several publications available for downloading at: http://www.iowadnr.gov/Environment/LandStewardship/WasteManagement/CompostingOrganics.aspx/.


The Louisiana State University Ag Center provides a 20 page handbook, ‘Backyard Composting – Waste to Resource’ on their site at: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/portals/communications/publications/publications_catalog/lawn%20and%20garden/backyard%20composting

There’s also a 2 page troubleshooting guide available at: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/NR/rdonlyres/BCC96EDA-75F7-4F08-9C81-1ADA8C167D49/2182/pub2517compost2.pdf


The Maine State Planning Office is tasked with assisting municipalities (and residents) in their efforts to improve recycling and composting performance. They provide detailed booklets on yard and food waste composting and a downloadable PDF on vermicomposting: http://www.maine.gov/dep/sustainability/compost/index.html.

They also provide links for more information on a variety of composting related topics: http://www.maine.gov/dep/sustainability/compost/index.html


Washtenaw County provides information on composting hows and whys, including equipment and bins, as well as a Master Composter program. Check out their program here.


The University of Minnesota Extension Service has material on-line regarding soil health and backyard composting: https://www.washtenaw.org/351/Composting

They also have a well established Master Gardener program.


The University of Missouri provides very easy to follow directions on building compost bins of various construction, as well as links to backyard compost production at: http://extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G6957

The Missouri Department of natural resources also provides information and PDF downloads on all things composting at: http://dnr.mo.gov/env/swmp/composting/


The Montana Department of Environmental Quality provides downloadable PDFs on home composting and also a few links to other sites at: http://deq.mt.gov/Land/Recycle/Compostingnew

New Jersey

This is the Rutgers University site. It contains 3 very useful, downloadable PDFs on Backyard Leaf Composting, Home Composting and Vermicomposting: https://njaes.rutgers.edu/fs811/

They also have information on Master Gardeners at: https://njaes.rutgers.edu/mastergardeners/

New Mexico

The Bernalillo County (NM) Extension Master Composters have been educating local citizens on the science, art, materials, methods and benefits of home composting in the desert. You are welcome to visit our website: www.nmcomposters.org

New York

The Cornell Waste Management Institute operates this website. It contains a variety of different links to educational resources aimed at both people interested in composting at their homes, schools, or business and others who want to promote small scale composting: http://cwmi.css.cornell.edu/smallscale.htm

North Carolina

This is the website of the North Carolina Composting Association, a state affiliate of the USCC. It contains links to backyard and to vermicomposting information, as well as links to other related sites. The backyard composting link is: http://carolinacompost.com/

The vermicomposting link is: http://www.carolinacompost.com/vermicomposting


The Ohio State University maintains a Composting at Home fact sheet that reviews the basics of compost bin design and composting practices. It is: http://www.therockpile.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/OhioStateFact-Composting.pdf. Their home page containing links to facts sheets and other composting topics is: https://www.osu.edu/


The Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania (PROP) offers a multi-page ‘booklet’ to composting grass, leaves and other organics generated in the home, as well as providing some links to other resources: www.proprecycles.org/

Rick Stehouwer, Ph.D. from Penn State University’s Environmental Science and Research program in the College of Agriculture, has created an excellent PowerPoint presentation on composting. Go to this website and then click on Composting is Recycling Naturally to review and download: http://backyardcompost.cas.psu.edu/howiscompostmade/how_is_compost_made.html


The Washington State University Cooperative Extension Service maintains a very helpful website containing information on backyard and kitchen waste composting, compost uses and composting health and safety issues at:


There are an almost limitless number of company and private composting sites that are easy to find on the internet. We have listed above only those sites affiliated with universities, professional organizations and those that are affiliated with state or municipalities, that provide impartial information. There are a few private sites, however, that are worth visiting:

This relatively new site is a very good compilation from a variety of sources, including a link to National Geographic’s Green Guide Video on home composting: http://www.improvenet.com/a/guide-to-composting-at-home

Helpful Links

Agriculture in the Classroom
Established in 1985 as a partnership between Cornell University, the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, the NYS Education Department, and the New York Farm Bureau, NY AITC educates youth, teachers, and consumers about agriculture and the food and fiber system. The site offers information, lesson plans, helpful links, awards, and grants.

Backyard Magic: The Composting Handbook
K-6, students, teachers
Produced by the Department of the Environment of New Brunswick in Canada, the site offers a range of information for turning organic household waste into a valuable soil conditioner. Some of the sections include: The Compost Container, Can I Compost This?, Composting Indoors, and  Worm Composting. The site is also available in French.

City Farmer: Worm Words
Dictionary of composting terms.

Compost and Fertile soil building
A series on the Mother Earth News Website

Composting at School
The ABCs of establishing an effective composting program at schools in Chittenden County, Vermont

“The Compost Story” by Kiss the Ground
Have you ever looked at a banana peel and thought, “Is that it?” Does life go on? Could this humble peel serve a greater purpose?

Cornell University
Composting curriculum with K-12 lesson plan

Environmental Home Remodeling: Recycling and Composting
A page about sustainability, composting and many ways to recycle.

EPA: Composting Basic Information
Basic definition of compost with acceptable bin materials.

How to Compost
all ages, students, teachers
This site serves as a hub of information for anyone interested in composting, with an online composting handbook, as well as tips for managing yard waste. This site also offers links to a compost quiz, a bumper sticker, publications, children’s activities, an online resource for microbial science, and sites that provide tips for successful maintenance of the various types of compost piles.

How to Make Compost
Barbara Pleasant (compost writer) in the Mother Earth News explains basic compost principles

Life Lab
Farm- and garden-based education

School Composting: A Manual for Connecticut Schools
How to implement a school-based composting program

“The Soil Story” by Kiss The Ground
Science meets inspiration in this tale of nature’s best hidden innovation: soil.

Vermicomposting – a 5th Grader School Enrichment Curriculum,  by Rhonda Sherman, NC State University

Vermicomposting curriculum for middle schools students
Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania (PROP)

The Worm Guide: A Vermicomposting Guide For Teachers
This guide explores vermicomposting–the practice of using worms to transform food waste into a nutrient-rich finished product called vermicompost.

Educational Videos

National Geographic –Green Home Makeover – Compost

Composting 101–  basic video for backyard composting

Composting Made Easy – video for backyard composting of grass clippings and yard waste