Buying Compost

You can buy compost at the Landfill and the Household Hazardous Waste Depot during the summer months.

The price for compost is determined in accordance to the amount desired.

Call the Wasteline at 705-474-0400 ext. 2333 to check availability.

What is composting?

Composting is a natural biological process, carried out under controlled conditions, which converts organic material into a stable humus-like product called compost. During the composting process, various microorganisms, including bacteria and fungi, break down organic material into simpler substances.  Composting is an aerobic process, meaning that the microorganisms require oxygen to do their work.  

What can be Composted?

Composting has the potential to manage all of the organic material in the waste stream which cannot otherwise be recycled.  Some examples of organic material that can be composted include food scraps, leaves and yard wastes, agricultural crop residues, paper products, sewage sludge and wood.  It is not good to compost meat products or leftovers because it can encourage wild animals to try and eat it out of your composter. Also, when putting in meat leftovers it tends to make your composter smell bad.  

Can composting manage all our wastes?

Since approximately 50% of the waste stream is organic matter, composting can play an important role in the integrated waste management plans of any community.  However, the remainder of the waste stream (such as items made of plastic, glass, metals, ceramics and rubber) cannot be composted.

Photo of a composter

How long does the composting process take?

A number of factors are important in controlling the composting process and the time that the process takes.  These factors include temperature, moisture, oxygen, particle size, the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio of the waste and the degree of mixing or turning involved.  In general, the more actively these factors are controlled, the faster the process.

The length of the process also depends on the degree of decomposition desired in the finished product.  Typically, an immature compost can be produced in about a month, while a mature compost may be allowed to cure for six months to a year.

What is the best location for a backyard composter?
The composter should be placed in a well drained area and where it is convenient to use.  It should be placed where it can get as much sun as possible as the microbiological activity will work faster.

Compost in a bucket

Can I compost in the winter?

Yes, you can compost year-round.  As the temperature falls, microbial activity decreases but it starts up again as soon as the weather warms up.  To make room for your winter organics, empty the finished compost from your unit in the fall.  You may also want to move the unit to a more accessible location for the winter.  Also, organics can be collected in a covered container stored just outside the back door.  In the spring, the collected organics can be added to your composter.  Kitchen wastes are high in nitrogen so you need to add lots of leaves or something rich in carbon to be sure that you have the right carbon-to-nitrogen ratio needed for the microorganisms to be most effective.  

Are special additives required?

In some cases, such as in the composting of grass clippings, the raw material may be too dense to allow for the proper flow of air or may be too moist.  A common solution to this problem is to add a bulking agent, such as wood chips, to provide structure to material and to allow for proper air flow.  The amount of bulking agent required is usually determined based on experience.  Some facilities add commercial fertilizers to their composting process, but this can usually be avoided by combining different waste streams together in a specific "recipe".  Inoculating the material with microbes is not normally required, since most wastes naturally contain the microbes needed for successful composting to occur.

Does composting cause odours or attract rodents?

Any waste management facility, including a composting site, has the potential to generate offensive odours or to attract pests.  However, experience at hundreds of composting facilities has shown that proper design and operational procedures can prevent or control these problems.  Excessive or offensive odours are generally a sign that the composting process is not proceeding properly, usually because of inadequate aeration or excessive moisture.  Close monitoring of these factors can usually help to minimize odours.  Facilities can employ abatement systems, such as biofilters, to treat occasional odours.  Preventing odours and ensuring that the site is kept clean will ensure that the site does not attract rodents or other pests.

Is compost a fertilizer?

Compost can contain varying amounts of nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.  However, the concentrations of these nutrients in compost are usually lower than those found in common fertilizers. 

Compost is more properly described as a soil amendment or soil conditioner which returns valuable organic material to the soil.  In addition, compost does benefit the soil by improving soil structure, aeration and water retention.  


How can I get more information about composting?

For additional information about composting, please write The Composting Council of Canada at 16 Northumberland Street, Toronto, Ontario M6H 1P7 or Email us at Specific information about the composting initiatives in your community may obtained by calling your local municipal recycling and composting.  

Build a Composter

Download plans to build your own composter.


Composting is a natural process where kitchen and yard wastes decompose into a dark, nutrient-rich, earth- smelling soil conditioner.  Perhaps you've considered backyard composting but live in a high rise or don't relish the thought of tramping through your garden in the middle of a winter blizzard.  Or perhaps you want to compost indoors in your school or office.  If so, vermicomposting may be just the answer for you.

What is vermicomposting?

Vermicomposting is simply composting with worms.  The best kind of earthworm to use is the redworm (a.k.a.  red wiggler).  These worms are incredible garbage eaters! They eat and expel their own weight every day, so even a small bin of red worms will yield pounds of rich sweet-smelling compost.  Finished compost can be harvested in as little as two to three months.  Redworms are extremely prolific.  It takes about three weeks for fertilized eggs to develop in a cocoon from which two or more young worms can hatch.  In three months the worms are sexually mature and will start breeding.  Within a year you'll be able to give worms away to get a friend started!



The Waste Line
 General Inquiries
 (705) 474-0400 x2333