Visit BIC’s FREE Compost Drop-Off table

at the Block Island Farmer’s Market this summer!

 

 Where: Legion Park (corner of Center and West Side Roads) 

When: beginning June 12th, Wednesdays & Saturdays from 9:00-11:30 am

 

Please click here for a list of what we can accept for composting

 

 Why should I compost?

 

To reduce your carbon footprint   In a traditional landfill, organic waste cannot effectively break down and creates potent concentrations of greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide. Also, trash from Block Island has a long journey in large, fuel-burning trucks (and ferry!) to get to the landfill.

 

To reduce your trash bill   About 30% of a household’s waste could be composted rather than tossed in a trash bag.

 

Special thanks to 1661 Farm & Gardens for their help & sponsorship of the BIC’s Free Compost Drop-Off Program

Questions? Please email stover@biconservancy.org

Composting with the Block Island Conservancy

When you throw an apple core, eggshells or a

head of lettuce that’s just a bit too wilted into

the trash, do you ever think about where it’s

going next? More often than not, our sense of

responsibility for our waste ends with putting the

bag in the outdoor can at the end of the day. But

your apple core, eggshell, or wilted lettuce can

take months, or even years, to fully decompose in

a traditional landfill.

 

Many items we regularly bag up and throw away as trash are compostable. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 24% of the material that ends up in American landfills could be diverted and used for composting.

Disposing of compostable items in landfills not only prolongs the natural breakdown process, but also produces high concentrations of methane gas, a greenhouse gas that is roughly thirty times as potent as carbon dioxide. The traditional waste stream also requires lengthy transport of trash loads to the receiving facility.

What happens to trash on Block Island?

After you drop your bag of trash at the Block Island transfer station, it’s trucked to the ferry, shipped

over to the mainland, and driven 35 miles to the Central Landfill in Johnston, RI, a landfill that is expected

to reach capacity in about 15 years.

 

Instead of sending your waste down this path, why not try composting, an on-island waste management solution?

 

What is composting?

Composting is a natural process that recycles organic material into a nutrient-rich soil amendment that is excellent for gardens. Organic material is a wide-ranging term – essentially anything that comes from the ground can be composted. Over time and in the presence of moisture and oxygen, all biodegradable materials will eventually breakdown to create compost.

Why does BIC think composting is important for Block Island?

The Block Island Conservancy’s mission is to protect the island’s natural and cultural resources. To achieve this, we must look beyond our boundaries and address the impact our actions have on the wider world. On-island waste management is one way to affect change both in and from Block Island.

Block Island’s current waste management strategy requires a lot of resources and produces a great deal of carbon and methane (potent greenhouse gases) emissions. By creating an on-island composting option, we’re able to start to cut down on the island’s overall environmental footprint. 

 

Can I Compost at Home?

Composting at home is as simple as setting aside a space for your pile and adding organic material as it is collected. When selecting a spot for your pile, look for a dry, shady area with access to a water source. Your pile can be made directly on the ground, or you can purchase or build a container or tumbler (there are many types that can be found online or at garden centers). Aim to maintain a ratio of one-third “green” material to two-thirds “brown” material. Mix the pile by turning it over about once a week to add oxygen, which feeds the microorganisms that are working to breakdown the waste. Add water when the pile looks dry or a clump of the compost won’t hold together in your hand. To kill all weed seeds, your pile needs to reach an internal temperature of 130-150º F. You can check the temperature of your pile using a long-stemmed thermometer, or by reaching your hand deep into the pile – the compost has reached a sufficient temperature if it’s almost too hot for comfort.

The compost is done and ready to be added to your garden when you no longer discern individual items and the pile is a homogenous dark brown color. Adding compost to your garden will enrich the soil, help it to retain moisture and suppress plant diseases and pests, and encourage the production of beneficial bacteria and fungi that breakdown organic material to produce humus, a nutrient-rich soil material.

How does BIC’s composting program work? 

BIC is currently in its third year of a pilot project to better understand the demand and potential for composting on Block Island. We collect compost at the Block Island Farmer’s Market and are working on a regular off-season option for island residents. Seth Draper at the 1661 Farm & Gardens accepts the material we collect and oversees the composting process at the farm. The compost generated is then used in his farm fields.