The United States Environmental Protection Agency defines compost as "organic material that can be used as a soil amendment or as a medium to grow plants… It is created by: combining organic wastes (e.g., yard trimmings, food wastes, manures) in proper ratios into piles, rows, or vessels; adding bulking agents (e.g., wood chips) as necessary to accelerate the breakdown of organic materials; and allowing the finished material to fully stabilize and mature through a curing process."

  1. What is Compostable?

    Yard trimmings, food residuals, wood waste

  2. Range of Available Technology
  1. Backyard or Onsite Composting (including grasscycling)

  2. Vermicomposting

  3. Aerated (Turned) Windrow Composting

  4. Aerated Static Pile Composting

  5. In-Vessel Composting

  6. EPA's Organic Materials Management Strategies

  1. Human Benefits - What can compost be used for?
Compost Picture
  • Farmers use compost for enhancing crops and for sod farms.

  • Landscapers use compost as a soil amendment and for decorative purposes at properties, golf courses, and athletic fields.

  • Landfill operators use compost to cover landfills and carry out reclamation projects.

  • Nurseries use compost for enhancing plant and forest seedling crops in reforestation projects and to prevent certain plant diseases such as root rot.

  • Public agencies use compost for landscaping highway median strips, parks, recreational areas, and other public property and remediating contaminated or eroded sites.

  • Homeowners use mature compost to enrich gardens, improve the soil around trees and shrubs, use as soil additive for house plants and planter boxes and as a protective mulch for trees and shrubs.

  1. Environmental Benefits
  • Compost enriches soils

  • Compost helps cleanup (remediate) contaminated soil

  • Compost helps prevent pollution

  • Using compost offers economic benefits

Reference: The majority of the information in this document came from the EPA's website on composting which can be found at

  1. Partial Example of Composting Contract

    This is an example part of a statement of work for a composting contract.

    Specifications and Descriptions for the Composted-Waste-Management Contract:

    • The Contractor shall furnish all necessary supervision, labor, materials, and equipment to provide compost removal services for facility A.  The Contractor shall meet the requirements outlined below, and shall meet all applicable local, state, and federal regulations pertaining to its work.

      • Compost disposal service: The Contractor shall provide compost-disposal service to include furnishing [specify number and type of compost containers].  The Contractor shall dispose of all compost in the [type of container] using a {type of truck: e.g. trash-collection truck].  This service is to be provided at [pick-up location].  The compost disposal service is to begin when requested by [e.g. Contracting Officer].  The start date is xxx.   Compost is to be picked up [number of times a week and what days].  The compost pick-up times shall be set by the [e.g. Contracting Officer's Technical Representative (COTR)].  Note: When the government is closed on a scheduled pickup day, the COTR must submit legible copies of monthly landfill and transfer-station tickets, and a copy of each ticket must accompany each invoice.  The contractor must also submit proof of the compost disposal and deposit in a nearby natural wood-waste compost "Green" facility.

    • The Contractor will have the responsibilities relating to removing compost generated by the [cafeteria operations, etc.] from the building.  The criteria for evaluating the Contractor's performance will be as follow: 1) the timely pick-up and return of the compost containers in facility A

    • Period of Performance

  1. More Information
  • Information by State (these websites include both general and state-specific resources):
  • Composting Resources from the USDA