ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. — When the city of St. Petersburg, Fla. took the lid off its composting program in July, residents quickly signed up to receive a free composting bin. The city initially ordered 500 containers for single-family residents, but that batch flew off the shelves after the announcement. 

At one point, the city was getting 100 requests an hour. 

“We didn’t realize it would be a success so fast,” said Bob Turner, assistant director of sanitation for St. Pete. 

The city ordered 4,100 compost bins to keep up with the high demand. 

“We deliver 100 to 175 bins a day,” Turner said explaining that the city is running out of storage space.

The orders have since slowed down, but Turner said as more people learn about the program the city will probably “have to order more.” 

If you’re still waiting for a free composting bin from the city, you can get a pile started in your backyard. 

Thirty percent of what the average person throws away comes from fruits, vegetables and yard waste -- all of which are ideal ingredients for composting. 

In the following video, Elise Pickett, owner of The Urban Harvest, explains that it would take a lot of vegetables to get a decent amount of soil from a vegetable-based compost.

Instead of vegetables, Pickett uses mulch and beer mash as her primary ingredients. The mulch acts as the carbon source, and the beer mash is the nitrogen.

When the organic waste is broken down, it turns into a natural fertilizer, which can be mixed into soil for your potted plants or garden.

St. Petersburg’s composting program kicked off shortly after Florida passed a law allowing residents to grow fruits, vegetables and other produce in their front yard.

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