Montclair Home Composting Program

You, too, can compost!

As the leaves on Montclair’s beautiful trees turn so many fantastic colors, the thoughts of gardeners and property owners turn to the fallen leaves: spectacular on the trees one day, a chore on the ground the next, what can we do with them?

We might let some just lay where they land, but soon most will blow across our property, onto neighbors’ lawns, and eventually into the street.

Where Do Our Leaves Go?

All of the leaves which Montclair residents rake up to be bagged and dragged to the curb (in paper leaf bags) are collected and hauled out of town to a large-scale facility, where they are transformed into compost – a valuable soil improver – which is sold to landscapers.

It's Black Gold – Keep It Off the Curb

As part of our comprehensive municipal waste prevention program, the Township encourages homeowners to “keep it off the curb” by providing a beneficial yard care program that reduces yard waste, saves money, improves our properties, and even protects our climate.

The stuff is nicknamed “Black Gold” for a reason: it can become humus, a soil amendment which improves the structure, nutrient content, fertility, and the moisture-holding capability of garden soil, or, mulch, a top dressing which prevents compaction, erosion and weeds. Both homemade miracle products are known by one name: compost.

Composting is also a climate change mitigation strategy. Decomposing food scraps with yard waste results in a rich, crumbly soil conditioner teeming with healthy microbial life. Using compost in and on your garden soil enhances its ability to draw down CO2 from the atmosphere – as a carbon sink – and return it to the earth for storage.

Home Composting Program

Since 2001, Montclair has supported backyard composting through the township’s Home Composting Program. Our Environmental Affairs office provides both written as well as phone information to residents on how to successfully compost leaves, grass clippings, yard trimmings, garden prunings, and certain kitchen scraps.

The only additions from the kitchen are fruit and vegetable scraps: no animal products. So, no meat, chicken, nor fish; no bones, grease, fat, nor dairy. There is one popular exception to the rule: egg shells.

Residents may also purchase low-cost compost bins (about half-price compared to Home Depot) simply by calling (973) 509-5721, to make an appointment for a pick-up.

The compost bin we sell is The Earth Machine, the most commonly sold bin in North America. Retailing for over $100, Montclair residents can purchase the bin for $57.

Want healthy, nutrient-rich, organic soil improver? Want to save some money? Got leaves and grass? Home composting is one of the basic steps to simple, responsible yard care and sustainable gardening; it’s also an important, almost “radical” action for protecting the environment, and our climate, which anyone can do in their own backyard.

Composting is easy, fascinating, fulfilling and fun. It’s good for our gardens and good for the earth; it’s good for your soil and good for your soul! For further information call Montclair's Compost Hotline – “The Rotline” – at 973 509-5721.

hands holding fresh compost