Separating organic materials from the trash should be thought of as a resource, not a waste. More food reaches landfills and incinerators than any other single material in our everyday trash.  Compost added to gardens, construction sites, and poor soils makes great things happen!

The HRRA  is working to provide organics recycling programs throughout the region as a public service.  Our goals include reduction of waste and greenhouse gas emissions, sequestering carbon, and improving ecosystem health.


Organics (Food Scraps)

Join a food scraps drop off program in your town

Are you interested in separating your food scraps from your trash so it can be made into compost but don’t want to do it in your back yard? 


Click on your town to learn more.


We hope that you will consider joining us in the effort to prevent food waste from entering the conventional waste stream and promote a sustainable environment!

Acceptable Items For Municipal Drop-Off Organics Programs

REMEMBER – ONLY FOOD Scraps are allowed in your bin.

No PLASTIC items, stickers, rubber bands or twist ties!

  • Meat, Poultry (bones also) Fish (including shellfish)
  • Dairy Products
  • Unpainted pumpkins, guords
  • Houseplants & Flower Bouquets
  • Fruits & Nuts (including pits)
  • Vegetables ***Remove stickers, bands and ties***
  • Bread, Pasta & Grains
  • Sauces, Soup & Gravy
  • Coffee Grounds & Filters
  • Tea Bags
  • Paper Towels & Napkins
  • Egg Shells
  • Plate Scrapings
Why should I pay for the service to have my organic recycled, isn't the hauler or the town making money from the material?

The hauler nor the town is not making money on the organic material. The hauler is in the business to provide transportation for your waste and recycling. The town is providing you a service at cost.  The receiving company that is processing the organic material charges the waste hauler to tip the material at their facility. The waste hauler or town needs to cover the cost of fuel for the vehicle, driver and the disposal fee.

Why does the processing facility charge for the material if they make compost and sell it for a profit?

It cost the processors $45-$55 a ton to process organic material into compost, the tip fees cover their processing cost per ton. The processing facility charges the upfront fee because not all material received is equal and the material could be contaminated with plastic, stickers and other objects. Contaminated material cannot be processed into compost and ultimately will be disposed of as MSW and sent to a waste-to-energy plant, which cost the processor to dispose as garbage. The current price to dispose MSW is $85 a ton. The processing plant is in the business to make and sell compost for a profit.

Do I have to use the bags?

No, you do not have to use bags to participate in the program. The compostable bags provided for some programs are for convenience and to eliminate the yuck factor for some. We welcome individuals who wish to use their containers without a bag.

If I need more bags where do I get them?

Bags are available for free by some towns until supplies last. Bags can be purchased at local stores where available and online, search for BioBags.

Compost for Gardens

Residents that actively participate in the organics food scraps program throughout the year will receive organic compost in the spring to use for gardening*.


Town of Newtown – Compost will be available in the spring for active participants of the Food Scraps Recycling Program. Compost is available on a first come, first serve basis. For more details email Arlene Miles at


Town of Redding – Compost will be available in the spring at the Transfer Station for active participants of the Food Scraps Recycling Program. Compost is available on a first come, first serve basis. For more details email Paige Silva at


Town of Ridgefield- Compost will be available in the spring, for active participants of the Food Scraps Recycling Program. Compost is available on a first come, first serve basis. For more details email Town of Ridgefield Recycling Coordinator Tiffany Carlson at


Town of Wilton- Compost will be available in the spring at the Transfer Station for active participants of the Food Scraps Recycling Program. Compost is available on a first come, first serve basis. For more details email Town of Wilton DPW Administrative Manager Jen Fascitelli at


*To receive compost, you must be an active participant in the Newtown, Redding, Ridgefield and Wilton organics program.

Home Composting

Composting at home reduces the amount of material you need to put out at the curb each week and enables you to turn vegetable and yard waste into a valuable soil conditioner for use in your backyard.

Finished compost is dark and crumbly and good for the soil. Mix it into the earth before planting flowers and vegetables or use it as mulch. It will help retain moisture, smother weeds and help prevent soil compaction.

Learn more here:

Composting - Resources for Kids

VideoMake the Most of Compost by SciShow Kids


Books on Composting:

  • Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth by Mary McKenna Siddals
  • Garbage Helps Our Garden Grow: A Compost Story by Linda Glaser
  • Composting: Nature’s Recyclers by Robin Koontz


Books about the Planet:

  • S Is for Save the Planet: A How-to-Be Green Alphabet by Brad Herzog
  • A Gardener’s Alphabet by Mary Azarian
How are composted organics beneficial

Compost is a unique soil amendment because of its ability to hold moisture and soluble minerals.

Composted organics are beneficial, they:

  • Maximize plant growth.
  • Effective at preventing soil erosion.
  • Aid in Stream and land reclamation.
  • Reconstruction of wetlands.
  • Help with storm water management.
  • Reduces the need for fertilizers.
  • Reduces the need for pesticides.
  • Improves the over all health of soil.
Why Should I Compost?

Composting is easy and provides many benefits, some of which are listed below:

  • Composting reduces household garbage and is beneficial to the environment.
  • By using compost, organic matter that we encounter in our daily lives (food scraps, grass clippings, etc.) is returned to the soil in a functional form, avoiding landfill and waste incineration.
  • Compost contains nitrogen and phosphorus as does commercial fertilizer. Unlike synthetic fertilizers, compost does not release these nutrients quickly so plants derive maximum benefit from them.
  • Compost is natural, so you don’t have to worry about polluting.
  • Compost adds water and nutrient-holding capacity to sandy soils.
  • Compost attracts earthworms and provides them with food so they breed rapidly. As all gardeners know, earthworms are beneficial for a garden.
  • Compost suppresses soil-born diseases that might attack your plants.
How do I get Started?

Setting up a composter is a great environmental activity to participate in. To set up your composter, keep in mind the following:

  • Make a homemade composter or purchase one at a local garden center or online.
  • Place your composter on solid, well-drained ground. If possible, place your composter in a sunny spot in order to speed up the decomposition process.
  • For convenience, consider placing the composter near your side or back door.
  • Leave enough room near the composter for supplies of earth and dry leaves.
What Should I Put Into My Composter ?

What Should I Put Into My Composter ?

Composting is a simple, natural process. Once you put organic material into your composter, the decomposition process starts. What you place into the composter and how you layer the material, affects the speed of decomposition. For best results, perform the following steps:

  • Add 4 parts carbon-based material (brown material such as dry leaves, shredded newspaper, straw etc.) to 1 part nitrogen (green material such as fruit and vegetable scraps, weeds, flowers, grass clippings etc.).
  • Vary the materials that go into the composter. The micro-organisms in your composter thrive on a variety of foods.
  • If possible, layer wet and dry material in your composter. For instance, when you add kitchen scraps or grass, also add dry leaves. Layers should be no more than 15 cm (6 inches) thick.
  • Sprinkle a little earth over your organic material. This will keep flies away from your composter.
  • Chop or shred materials into small pieces to make the composting process go faster.
Did you know?
  • Anything that was once alive can be composted.
  • Human hair and pet hair can also be composted. These are GREEN items that are high in nitrogen.
  • You can compost in the winter.
  • If your compost pile doesn’t seem to be composting, try turning it, it may need some air.
What Maintenance Will My Composter Need?

As long as your composter contains organic material, decomposition will happen. A little tending however can speed up the process, so be sure to keep the following points in mind:

  • Decomposition needs air. Turn or poke the contents of your composter every week to allow air to penetrate.
  • The contents of your composter should be like a damp (not wet) sponge. If it is too dry, add water to the pile, and add more fruit and vegetable scraps. If it is too wet, turn the compost pile more often, add dry organic materials like leaves, and keep a lid on your composter to keep the rain off the material.
  • Cut up vegetable and food scraps into small pieces. Greater surface area means faster composting.
  • Don’t add more than 6 inches of one type of material at a time.
  • Involve your whole family in helping with the composter’s care and feeding, and soon it will be just part of the household routine.
Are animals attracted to composters?

If you follow the simple rules for composting and be sure to avoid putting meat, fat or bones into your composter, it probably won’t be visited by unwanted pests or animals. If you’re worried about pests, there are simple ways you can pest proof your composter by lining it with wire mesh or purchasing a base for the composter, using a composter with a cover, digging food waste into the pile and covering food waste with soil.

What about bugs?

Most insects found in composters help the decomposition process. Presence of larger bugs like earwigs, sow bugs, and ants usually mean the material is not being composted quickly. These bugs are helping the process, but if they are still present when you use your finished compost, they may eat your plants. Pay close attention to the variety of material in your composter, and turn the pile frequently. As decomposition speeds up, the temperature will increase and the bugs will depart. Sprinkling a little earth over each addition of kitchen scraps will also discourage flies.

Will my composter produce a foul smell?

A compost pile that is properly aerated and working well should not have an unpleasant odor. If it does, the material may be too wet or too compacted. Feeding your composter a variety of the right kinds of kitchen and yard waste, while aerating it by turning or poking it once a week can prevent it from producing a foul odour.

Should I put weeds in my composter?

A composter that is working quickly will produce enough heat to kill most weed seedlings. To make sure that weed seedlings do not survive, leave collected weed waste in a black plastic bag in the sun for a few weeks before composting them.