Composting is the natural breakdown of organic materials such as fruit and vegetable scraps, leaves and grass clippings by bacteria and fungi (micro-organisms). Composting can help reduce the amount of household garbage you set out, and it also produces nutrient-rich soil that can be used for gardening and landscaping.

View the Your Guide to Composting booklet that teaches you how to build an outdoor composter or an indoor vermicomposter, what material you can compost and a list of trouble-shooting tips. 

The Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council offers further information to help determine which household composting style works best for you. 


Setting Up Your Backyard Composter

A well-designed outdoor compost bin has the following features:

  • Recommended size: 1 metre high, by 1 metre wide, and 1 metre deep
  • Easy access to turn/remove the pile of organic matter inside the bin
  • Space or holes along the composter bin’s sides for air to circulate inside the bin
  • Lids, although not a requirement, help the compost retain moisture
  • Some composter bins have two compartments, one side for finished compost and the other side is where you add fresh organic material

Acceptable Materials
Here are a list of items you can put in your composter. Remember to balance your greens (nitrogen-rich) and browns (carbon-rich) with a 50:50 ratio.

Greens – Nitrogen-Rich
These items are usually moist:

  • Fruit and vegetable peels and scraps
  • Green leaves
  • Weeds before they go to seed
  • Green grass clippings
  • Coffee grounds, including the filter
  • Tea bags
  • Egg shells (crushed)
  • Breads
  • Cooked pasta and rice
  • Flowers

Browns – Carbon-Rich
These items are usually dry:

  • Evergreen needles
  • Dry leaves
  • Dried brown grass clippings
  • Bark chips
  • Straw
  • Prunings and cuttings
  • Dryer/vacuum lint
  • Hair
  • Bird cage cleanings
  • Cardboard, paper, sawdust (use limited quantities as they decompose slowly)

Unacceptable Materials

Do not compost the following items:

  • Meat, bones and fish scraps
  • Dairy products
  • Fatty/oily foods including cheese, butter, oil and salad dressing
  • Weeds with mature seeds
  • Walnut shells
  • Pet waste
  • Rhubarb leaves
  • Plants or grass clippings treated with chemicals
  • Diseased or insect-infected plants
  • Charcoal or coal ashes