Compost bins in Quesnel

Composting can reduce your household waste by 30%. If everyone composted, it would  dramatically reduce the amount of garbage that ends up in the landfill. At our landfill, it is difficult to separate compost from other inorganic materials. Most waste arriving at the landfill site is mixed.

In partnership with Baker Creek Enhancement Society, the City is making it easier for you to compost!

Where can I get a compost bin?

Compost bins are readily available at most garden shops, hardware stores, and building supply stores. As with anything, prices vary according to product features, size and quality. Be sure to shop and compare.

Not all compost bins are created equal. Determine your needs and expectations, and then find a compost bin that will meet them. With a few materials and a little effort, you can build one yourself.

How to compost
Why Compost?


Composting can reduce your household waste by 30%. If everyone composted, it would dramatically reduce the amount of garbage that ends up in the landfill.


Compost improves soil structure which enhances plant growth. It contains micronutrients that plants need.


Compost helps soil retain moisture which reduces the need for watering.


Compost contains natural antibiotics that suppress disease in plants.

How to compost


You can buy a commercial bin but a home-made one made from four wooden pallets is cheap and effective. It should be at least 1 cubic meter in size (1x1x1 meter) to accommodate enough material to build up heat for decomposition. It should also be ventilated to allow air to flow through the pile. Just a pile or heap is also an option.


A sunny spot will help heat the pile up quickly. It should be accessible and close to where the compost will be used. Put the bin on the bare earth to allow soil-bound micro-organisms to help break down the materials.


Any vegetable type material, kitchen scraps (greens) – fruits, vegetables, eggshells, coffee grounds and tea bags can be layered with yard waste (browns) – grass clippings and leaves. Small pieces decompose faster so chop up materials such as melon rinds first. Adding a shovel of garden soil over the "greens" will speed up the process and allow air movement. Turn it regularly.


When the bin is full, continue to turn the material over – more than one bin allows you to move it from one bin to another every week or two. Once it is a pleasant smelling soil-like product, dig it into garden beds.

Items to compost


Brown, carbon-based materials include:

  • leaves
  • grass clippings
  • wood chips
  • plant waste, flowers
  • weeds (before they go to seed)
  • straw or hay without seeds


Green, nitrogen-based materials include:

  • fruits and vegetables
  • egg shells
  • tea bags/leaves
  • coffee grounds/filters
  • rice, bread, pasta (no oil or sauce)


  • hair
  • sawdust from non-treated wood
  • manure


  • bones oils or dressings
  • fish plants infected
  • dog or cat waste with disease
  • dairy products
  • meats, animal
  • walnut shells/leaves products
Composting tips

Keep your compost material as moist as a damp sponge – covering it will help keep it from drying out.

Don’t add thick layers of any one material, particularly grass; mix it with other material instead.

Use more carbon based material; research shows that 25 or 30 times as much brown, carbon-based materials (dried leaves, straw or shredded newspaper) as green, nitrogen based materials (vegetable waste or manure) is the best ratio.

Composting can be done year round but the process slows down in the winter.

Using a compost thermometer will tell you whether the composting process is working well – 140 – 160 F is a good goal.

Compost can be dug into the soil or layered on top as a mulch to keep down the weeds.

Potential problems
1.SymptomCompost has bad odour.
 ProblemNot enough air or too wet.
 SolutionTurn it ot aerate/add dry materials.
2.SymptomProcess appears too slow.
 ProblemProcess is too dry or frozen, or poor carbon to nitrogen ratio.
 SolutionMoisten and mix thoroughly. Decomposition will continue in the spring. Add "greens" or "browns".
3.SymptomInsects or animal pests.
 ProblemMeat, fish and fatty foods in composter.
 SolutionAvoid adding these items. Dig in all food waste and cover with soil.
4.SymptomCompost it too wet. 
 ProblemPoor drainage or too much rainfall.
 SolutionCover or move to a location with better drainage.