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Thinking of composting at home? Here's how to start

Many counties will provide inexpensive or free supplies, all you have to do is provide the food scraps.

RAMSEY COUNTY, Minn. — If you're getting tired of eating those Thanksgiving leftovers (or if they've just been sitting in the fridge for too long) and you're looking for a more environmentally friendly solution to throwing them in the trash, consider composting your food scraps. 

Ramsey County residents can access a free kit to launch their composting journey. You can get a small kitchen caddy, composting bags, instructional manual and a punch card to help you earn a free t-shirt while keeping your food scraps out of the landfill. 

Around six months after you drop off your uneaten food, the scraps can be used as compost in gardens, landscaping and construction projects. 

Around 20% of our trash is food waste, according to the county's webpage, so every little bit you keep from going into the garbage can make a difference. 

Ramsey County sites accept bones, coffee grounds and paper filters, eggshells, grease, vegetables and other food scraps you might not expect. Grass and leaves shouldn't be mixed with your food waste - the county will also take these items, but keeps them separate from the food. 

There are several locations across the county where you can drop your scraps, and coming in 2022-23 the county plans to launch a pick-up program for residents. 

John Springman, a Ramsey County Environmental Health Supervisor, said that more and more people county-wide are reducing the impacts of wasted food and helping to feed the soil through composting. 

"The food scrap composting has increased significantly, we saw a 30% increase from 2019-2020 and maybe seen another 35% increase from 2020-2021," Springman said.

Find more information about composting in Ramsey County here.

For residents of Hennepin County, the rules are very similar. Some cities, like Minneapolis, Wayzata and St. Louis Park already offer home pick up for compost, and others like Bloomington, Maple Grove and Robbinsdale are expected to offer the service by Jan. 1, 2022. 

Information about composting programs in Hennepin County is available here