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City of St. Pete creates free composting program

Nearly 2,000 residents have signed up for composting bins to reduce their landfill waste.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The city of St. Pete has officially launched its new composting program. Residents in single-family homes who want to get in on the action can now sign up for a free composting bin.

Of what we throw out, 30 percent could be used for composting. 

Some of the residents who have signed up for the new program are brand new to composting.

“Extreme beginner" is how St. Pete resident Brandi Morris describes herself when it comes to composting. "We just started looking into what we can compost, what we should leave out, what sort of mixes, how it’s used.”

Morris signed up after her neighbor tipped her off to this new program early. She wants to cut down on waste, but she also has other goals.

“We are hoping to start a garden. Just a small one for now. We got a couple blueberry bushes and a fig tree. And we are going to possibly do tomatoes and strawberries.”

The compost could help a ton. The process turns nitrogen-rich food scraps and carbon-rich brown materials into nutrient-rich fertilizer. 

“The soil back here isn’t so great. It’s very dry, very sandy. So we are hoping by composting, we can bring some nutrients back into the soil, so these little guys can thrive back here," said Morris.

However, if you add the wrong things, like meat, bones or oil, you could create a mess that attracts bugs and maggots. 

Jeff Donnel, the director of this new program, is not too worried though because he thinks the self-selecting nature of this program will bring success. 

“The people who want (the composting bins) are people who like to putt around in their yard. They take care of their garden. They want to produce that compost to put on their yard, or produce a vegetable garden in their yard. And this is going to produce compost that is perfect for those purposes," explained Donnel. 

All recipients also receive an information booklet and, of course, there are resources online. 

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