Composting

Backyard Composting Curbside Pickup Composting

Earth Machine home composters are available at the Municipal Service Center at 870 Hammond St. Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Earth Machines are $55 each paid by Credit Card (MasterCard or Visa) or check (only made out to the Town of Brookline). Call 617-879-4900 for more information.

Guide to Home Composting

Congratulations, you have decided to take on composting! Sit back and relax, because composting is an amazingly easy way for you to make a difference. In less than 10 minutes a week, you can:

  • Reduce the amount of household garbage you generate by 25% or more - that's less tax dollars spent on collection and disposal.
  • Create wheelbarrows full of valuable compost to add to your garden, lawn, trees, shrubs and house plants.

A Home composting bin with labels: Ten year warranty, twist-locking pest-resistant lid, conical shape for easy removal, side ventilation, four screw pegs to secure composter to the ground, locking harvest doorEarth Machine™ Assembly Instructions

  1. Twist and remove the lid.
  2. Place the bottom section on the ground and set the top section on top of it. Important: Make sure that the arrows on the top and bottom sections line up. Also, the bottom of the top section should sit in the groove on the top of the bottom section.
  3. Check the outside and inside with your hand to ensure the 6 tabs line up with the 6 slots.
  4. To ensure the tabs are completely in the slots, push down firmly on the 2 halves of the Earth Machine™ starting at the arrows and working fully around the compost bin rim.
  5. To confirm that all 6 tabs are in place, turn the unit upside down and make a visual check.
  6. Slide the harvest door in place, bending slightly if necessary.
  7. Put the lid on by lining up the arrow on the lid with the arrow on the top of the Earth Machine™. Twist the lid to lock or control ventilation.
  8. Once you have determined the location, you can anchor the Earth Machine™ to the ground by screwing the 4 pegs into the ground at a slight angle. To maintain correct hole spacing, ensure the harvest door is in place before screwing down the pegs.

Where to Put Your Earth Machine™

The most important factor for locating your Earth Machine™ is convenience. You will be adding material several times each week, even in winter, so set it up as close to your kitchen as possible.

Some first-time Earth Machine™ users make the mistake of hiding it in the back of the yard, thinking it will smell or attract pests, and then find it inconvenient. The Earth Machine™ handbook will show you how to compost easily and trouble-free, so don't hide your Earth Machine™ - be proud of it!

Once you have chosen your location, just set your Earth Machine™ in the desired location and secure it with the 4 plastic screw pegs. You are now ready to compost!

Tip
It helps to put your Earth Machine™ in a well-drained spot. You can speed things up by cutting out the sod under the Earth Machine™ to invite worms and microbes in and improve drainage.

Composting Starts in the Kitchen

To keep material from sticking to the bottom and sides of the kitchen collector, line it with a sheet of newspaper or paper towel. When you empty the pail into your Earth Machine™ every couple of days, it will slide out cleanly. Give your kitchen collector a quick rinse after you empty it and re-line it. The newspaper or paper towel will compost in your Earth Machine™.

What to Compost

Your Earth Machine™ will work best if it is fed a diet of green (nitrogen-rich) and brown (carbon-rich) materials. Check out the list of kitchen and yard waste "greens" and "browns" that will keep your Earth Machine™ happy.

Kitchen Greens

  • Coffee grounds
  • Egg shells
  • Fruit and vegetable scraps
  • Houseplant cuttings
  • Rice and pasta
  • Tea bags

Kitchen Browns

  • Coffee filters
  • Dryer lint
  • Hair
  • Paper napkins and towels
  • Stale bread

Yard Greens

  • Flowers
  • Grass (small amounts)
  • Hedge clippings
  • Plant trimmings
  • Vegetables

Yard Browns

  • Dried grass and weeds
  • Leaves
  • Small twigs / chips
  • Straw or hay

How to Compost

Composting is easy - it happens on its own. However, there are a few things you can do to speed up the composting process. Just follow these 4 steps:

  1. Chop: It helps to chop up larger items like watermelon rinds or corn cobs before putting them in your kitchen collector.
  2. Empty: Once your kitchen collector is full, take it to your Earth Machine™ and empty it out
  3. Stir: Mix the new material into the existing pile using a compost turner, pitchfork or other garden tool. This also adds oxygen, a key component to successful composting.
  4. Cover: Cover your food waste with a handful of old leaves, other dried yard waste or soil. This will add carbon and reduce the chance of odors and fruit flies. Then put the lid back on and let it "cook".

Curbside Composting Click to Sign Up for Black Earth Compost and Get a Free Starter Kit

Why is Composting Important?

Did you know that approximately 30% of Massachusetts' waste stream is made up of material that could be composted? When food waste is sent to landfills, it doesn't properly decompose and emits methane, a greenhouse gas more than 25x more potent than carbon dioxide. Composting speeds up the natural process of decomposition and creates a final product that adds nutrients, moisture, and carbon to soil!

Benefits of Composting:

  1. Enriches soil, helping retain moisture and suppress plant diseases and pests.
  2. Reduces the need for chemical fertilizers.
  3. Encourages the production of beneficial bacteria and fungi that break down organic matter to create humus, a rich nutrient-filled material.
  4. Reduces methane emissions from landfills and lowers your carbon footprint.

Subscribing

The Town of Brookline has partnered with Black Earth Compost to encourage residents to subscribe to curbside organics at a fixed price set by our agreement. 

There are currently four subscription options that Black Earth Compost offers:

Weekly PickupEvery Other Week Pickup
$59.99 / 6 months ($2.31/week)*$44.99 / 6 months ($1.73/week)
$11.99 Monthly$8.99 Monthly

*Most common subscription in Brookline. If over 3,000 households sign up for collection the price will drop to $49.99/ 6 months. 

For a limited time, the Town of Brookline's DPW is offering FREE compost starter kits (a value of up to $38) to all new Black Earth Compost residential subscribers! To collect your free starter kit, drop by Brookline's Municipal Service Center at 870 Hammond Street, Brookline, MA 02467 on any Tuesday from 8:00 am - 12:00 pm. If these hours don't work for you, please contact us at [email protected] to set up an appointment to collect your starter kit. Make sure you bring your receipt (on your phone is fine!) for proof of purchase!

To learn what you can/cannot compost as a Black Earth Compost customer, please see the Black Earth Compost Guide. The Town of Brookline is not involved in the payments for service, agreements will be directly between the resident and Black Earth Compost. Sign up for weekly service.

"Why should I compost? Composting adds nutrients, moisture and carbon to soil, helps plans grow, is fun and easy. Food scraps make up almost 22% of the waste stream in MA based on 2019 MassDEP data. By composting you can turn those food scraps into black gold. In a few months you reduced greenhouse emissions and helped your plants thrive. Composting is nature's recycling system at work.