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Options to Backyard Composting

Licensed garbage haulers in Plymouth provide curbside yard waste pick up service to their customers. According to state law, yard waste must be placed in a cart or a compostable bag made of kraft paper or compostable plastic.

Plymouth residents may bring leaves, brush, tree and garden waste to the Plymouth Yard Waste Site.

Plymouth Backyard Composting Ordinance

In Plymouth, acceptable materials for backyard composting are limited to: grass clippings; leaves and weeds; wood chips and small twigs; evergreen cones and needles; garden waste; uncooked food and vegetable scraps; and commercial ingredients designed to speed or enhance composting. All materials must come from the property on which the composting occurs.

Composting materials must be kept in a container that is:

  • At least 3 foot by 3 foot by 3 foot in size unless it is a commercially fabricated bin designed for composting; and must not exceed 5 feet wide by 12 feet long by 5 feet high;
  • Constructed of durable materials such as wet resistant wood; block; sturdy metal fencing; or be a commercially built bin designed to contain composting material.
  • In the rear yard of the property.
  • At least 40 feet from the nearest neighbor's home.
  • At least 6 feet from any city park, trail, property line and the resident's house.

Composting material must be maintained by periodic turning and moistening in order to eliminate odor or pests.

Why Compost?

Backyard composting is recycling at its easiest and best. Through composting, nature turns yard waste and certain food scraps into something good for your lawn and garden. Composting:

  • Adds organic matter to help the soil absorb and retain water and nutrients.
  • Reduces the need to water.
  • Protects plants from drought and freezing.
  • Prevents erosion when compost is used as a mulch.
  • Provides beneficial nutrients to plants.
What to Compost

Backyard composting can create a rich soil amendment that is produced by the breakdown of nitrogen and carbon-rich materials by microorganisms. These materials are listed here as either "greens" (provide nitrogen) or "browns" (provide carbon).

Greens provide nitrogen, and act as a source of protein for the microbes that are hard at work in your compost pile.

  • Green leaves
  • Plant trimmings
  • Raw fruit and vegetable scraps
  • Fresh grass clippings

Browns are a source of carbon, and provide energy for the microbes.

  • Dried grasses, leaves
  • Straw
  • Wood chips
  • Twigs and branches
  • Sawdust
  • Corncobs and stalks
How to Compost

How to Get Started

  • Use a container to keep the composting materials together and to help them reach the proper temperature for composting. A container is required by the city's backyard composting ordinance.
  • Mix materials from the lists of green and brown materials in roughly equal portions.
  • Add water - just enough to moisten the pile.
  • Add air by turning the pile occasionally.
Compost Troubleshooting
Bad odor Not enough air or too wet Turn compost to add air;
add dry materials
Center of pile is dry Not enough water Moisten and turn
Too damp or warm only in the middle Pile is too small Add more material
Won't heat up Lack of nitrogen Add materials from the green list