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Promoting Sustainable Yards and Gardens, and Organic Waste Prevention

The Township of Montclair’s office of Environmental Affairs supports home composting by providing free written information to residents on how to successfully compost leaves, grass clippings, yard trimmings, garden prunings and certain kitchen scraps, transforming them into a valuable organic garden soil improver.

For more information residents can also call our Compost Information Telephone Hotline, “The Rotline”, at (973) 509-5721, anytime, to receive answers to their questions within 24 hours (often immediately, usually within 8 hours).

In addition to “how-to” information, any resident can purchase an affordable home compost bin, “The Earth Machine”, from the Environmental Affairs office by calling (973) 509-5721 to schedule a pick-up. The Earth Machine is the most popular backyard compost bin sold in North America, and normally retails for $90 - $100. The Dept. of Community Services and the office of Environmental Affairs acquire the bins by the pallet-full, and therefore can sell them to Montclair residents – at cost – for only $52. An aerator – a popular turning tool retailing for $25 to $30 – is also available for just $15.

Finally, the Environmental Affairs office also hosts an annual Compost GiveBack in the fall, enabling residents to pick up free professionally-made compost, supplied to us by Nature’s Choice, the commercial composting company contracted by the Township to collect all of our residential leaves and grass clippings that are left at the curb (in biodegradable brown paper yard waste bags, available from the Montclair Dept. of Community Services, 219 No. Fullerton Avenue, 973-509-5711).

Those leaves and grass are taken out-of-town to Nature’s Choice’s large-scale facility where they are composted to create a healthy, nutrient-rich soil amendment, which they sell to landscapers and nurseries. Nature’s Choice generously donates a large truck-full of their “black gold” to Montclair residents for this annual special event; participants may shovel up and take away a 35-gallon bag full of compost.

Residents may also buy the low-cost home compost bins, and attend free hands-on composting demonstrations. In addition, they can learn about a wide-range of healthy and environmentally-sustainable backyard and gardening tips from several local community groups or regional non-profit organizations, at information stations and hand-out tables. Those tips include:

  • how to make your backyard a welcome habitat for beautiful birds and butterflies;
  • how to reduce your impacts on stormwater runoff pollution by using less pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers;
  • easy steps to grow and maintain beautiful, healthy lawns by proper seeding and feeding, reducing chemicals, mowing correctly, and grass cycling;
  • simple tips about organic gardening;
  • solving weed or bug problems through integrated pest management;
  • being water-wise in your yard and garden by proper plant selection, effective watering, and xeriscaping;
  • the many benefits of native plants;
  • finding out about the many ways yard care affects our health and environment, and how we can easily reduce those impacts while renewing our enjoyment and love of gardening.

For further information or questions, please call the office of Environmental Affairs anytime, at (973) 509-5721.

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