The City of Gulfport is excited to launch the Community Composting Bin Program to encourage waste reduction and create a more sustainable Gulfport. Composting is easy to do and has numerous benefits including reduced greenhouse gas emissions, improved soil health, and reduced fertilizer use. By placing food scraps and other organic materials in your compost bin, you can easily create rich soil to use in your yard or garden.
For questions regarding compost bin delivery, contact the City of Gulfport Public Works Department email@example.com at or 727-893-1089.
Please complete an interest form to reserve your bin today. Residents will be notified as soon as bins become available for delivery.
HOW DO I SIGN UP TO RECEIVE A BIN?
Please complete an interest form online. For questions, please contact the City of Gulfport Public Works Department at 727-893-1089.
HOW MUCH DOES EACH COMPOST BIN COST?
WHAT SHOULD I COMPOST?
- Fruit and vegetable peels, cores and scrapes
- Coffee grounds and tea bags
- Pasta, rice, grains
- Egg shells
- Flowers and unused vegetables
- Plant and hedge trimmings
- Small amounts of grass
- Paper towels, napkins, tissues, coffee filters
- Stale breads
- Human and pet hair
- Dryer lint
- Dried leaves, hay straw
- Twigs and chipped wood
- Most dried weeds and small amounts of dried grass
- Be sure sure to keep your compost pile wet, but not soaked, to make sure it breaks down. (Tip: As wet as a wrung out sponge.)
TIP: Chop large materials so they will break down faster.
WHAT SHOULD I NOT COMPOST?
- Bones, meat, fish and seafood
- Dairy products
- Fats and oils
- Pet waste
- Coal or treated wood as
- Large, unchopped materials
- Excessive grass
- Weeds that have gone to seed
- Diseased plants and leaves
- Damaged weeds (ie crabgrass)
HOW DO I SET UP MY BIN?
Setting up your bin is easy. Please visit the HOME COMPOSTING HANDBOOK for features of your composting bin including assembly instructions and location factors.
WHAT IS GOOD RATIO OF GREENS, BROWNS, AND WATER?
GREENS AND BROWNS
The key is to have 60% browns and 40% greens at all times and when in doubt, add more browns! Too many greens may leave your pile smelly and slimy, and may even attract flies, bugs, and rodents. Make sure to avoid pushing down the compost to make more room for new material, which will push air out of the pile and stop the process.
Watering your pile is a very important part of maintenance, and it should always be kept at about 60% moisture- think like a damp sponge! When in doubt, try the “Squeeze Test”:
- Push aside the top layer of compost (with gloves!)
- Take a small handful of compost and squeeze firmly in your hand
- If it falls apart in your hand, it is too dry- add water or use rainwater
- If water pours out or streams from in between your fingers, it is too wet. Let it air out or add more browns to help dry it out.
HOW OFTERN SHOULD I ADD WATER AND "TURN" MATERIALS IN MY BIN?
“Turning” your compost helps to make sure that the materials are well-mixed and will help to break down your materials more quickly.
- Mix occasionally (every 1-2 weeks) by turning the pile with a compost turner, pitchfork or shovel to allow air circulation
- Do NOT mix freshly added layers
- Check moisture regularly; add water if it’s too dry, or add “browns” if it’s too wet
- Add enough moisture so the pile is about as wet as a wrung-out sponge
- While turning is the best method, you can also place a 2″ PVC pipe vertically into the center of the compost pile to help with aeration. Be sure to drill holes into the pipe to allow for proper airflow!
WHEN WILL MY COMPOST BE READY TO USE?
- Within the first week, you should notice the pile is warm and may have a slightly sweet, pleasant smell – your compost is “cooking!”
- Remove finished compost as needed after 8-12 weeks through the lower harvest door to use on gardens, lawns, trees, shrubs and houseplants.
- Use this soil around your yard, or in your gardens, for your potted plants, in any other way you would use normal soil- just without the fertilizer! This will help to help reduce the need for fertilizer and herbicides, improve the health of your yard, and reduce your carbon footprint.
HOW DO I INCORPORATE WORMS FOR "VERMICOMPOSTING"?
The University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) provides some information on how to get started with vermicomposting. Learn more at Worms-Vermicomposting – UF/IFAS Extension (ufl.edu)
TIPS FOR DEALING WITH BUGS AND PESTS?
There are easy and human ways to ensure rodents don’t get into your bin and even to get rid of them if they are already there. Follow these tips to help resolve the problem:
- Ensure there are no scattered or uncovered food scraps
- Add new items only to the center of the pile so that they are not easily accessible from the sides
- Layer browns and greens, with browns on the top and sides of your pile
- Make sure your bin is closed and locked
- Avoid using fats, oils, greases, meats, or other non-compostable items in your pile
- Avoid or remove clutter around your bin
- Try changing things up! Rodents are creatures of habit, so changing your bin location, watering practices, or layering could resolve the problem
- Remember, rats and other rodents are part of the food chain and an important source of food for local birds of prey and other animals. Please DO NOT poison them
WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW?
Other tips to make sure you have rich soil in no time include:
- DO chop materials into smaller pieces to speed up decomposition
- DO turn and circulate air into your compost materials
- DO keep your compost materials moist, but not very wet
- DO add already-finished compost, or a compost accelerator can be mixed into the pile to accelerate decomposition
- DO always cover green materials with a top layer of brown materials (this will help avoid any smells)
- DO keep the ratio at approximately 3-parts browns to 2-parts greens
- DON’T put fats, oils, grease or bones in your bin (this will help avoid any smells)
- DON’T put in weeds that have gone to seed
- DON’T put in human or pet waste
- DON’T try to compost in a container that has no air access
Thank you for doing your part to support a sustainable Gulfport!
Glad to have you composting! By composting and recycling, you can reduce the amount of garbage you generate by up to 80%. It quickly becomes routine and makes a big difference. The added bonus is that the compost you generate will make your garden and lawn healthier, and less dependent on chemicals, fertilizers and watering.