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Proper Compost Guidelines

Guidelines for Proper Backyard Compost

Compost shall be maintained to prevent the harboring and breeding of animals and offensive odors. Open compost piles could attract rodents, and in these instances these piles could be subject to nuisance abatement and are not allowed. Compost bins and containers must be constructed in a way that deters animal pests like rats and other vermin. Rats are able to chew through plastic bins, often starting with the vents, and may burrow under and into your compost bin. Do not compost any animal products (fish, meat, chicken, cheese, butter).

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Good backyard composting techniques to prevent odors and animal nuisances include, but are not limited to:

  • constructing the compost bin out of hardware cloth or welded wire

  • locating the pile away from attractive animal nest locations like wood piles, carports, sheds or brush piles and away from attractive food sources like bird feeders, pet food bowls, garbage cans, fruit trees or berry bushes

  • turning the compost pile and keeping it moist to increase the temperature and speed up decomposition while also discouraging animals looking for a dry undisturbed bed.


Recommended design features include:

  • line the entire bin in 1/4 to 1/2 inch wire mesh

  • ensure the bin has a tight-fitting lid

  • provide adequate drainage by digging out the soil below the bin and laying 3 to 4 inches of coarse gravel.

Other Composting Options

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When storing your compost bin outdoors, you must use a bin with a tight-fitting or locking lid. Line bins with certified compostable plastic bags or paper bags to help keep bins clean and odors to a minimum. Rinse or clean compost bins as needed. Use a preferred city vendor for such services, if applicable.

Possible Vendors

  • Black Earth Compost

  • Bootstrap Compost

  • Garbage to Garden

Certain vendors have discounts if they are popular in your area, so check multiple options!

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