Lewis County May Add Curbside Compost; New Procurement Program Passes


Bad news for anyone who loves air pollution: Lewis County commissioners unanimously passed an ordinance on Tuesday morning to establish compost procurement. 

According to Lewis County Solid Waste Utility Director Rocky Lyon, the county already has an offer for a curbside compost program as well. 

“This will allow that,” Lyon said. “The end goal is to have a compost pickup curbside for everybody within the county as well. We already have all the processes in place here in Lewis County to collect this material at our two transfer stations.”

Last year, new state legislation required all counties to set up local compost procurement programs with the goal of keeping more organic material out of landfills, where it emits methane gas. The Department of Ecology also recently said counties can facilitate these programs for cities within their limits. 

Composting material instead allows for expedited natural breakdown with fewer emissions. Plus, the end product can be used for landscaping, gardening, building and more, often containing more nutrients ideal for growing than typical backyard soil. A true win-win.

The law outlines compost must be created by the jurisdictions that process it, likely meant to reduce emissions that come with long periods of transport.

After the compost is “finalized,” into products such as mulch and other usable compost materials, it can be used in county projects such as landscaping and construction.

“(The legislation) sets forth having more robust organics collection programs. So, this is helping bolster the whole system on the front end,” said Melanie Case, Lewis County’s recycling program coordinator.

Case said because the county then gets to utilize its own compost, the program is “cost effective.”

Composting is possible indoors and in the smallest of yards, too. A very active Master Gardeners/Master Recycler Composters program in the area means county residents have access to free classes on the topic throughout the year. To learn more about do-it-yourself composting, visit the Lewis County WSU Extension office website at https://extension.wsu.edu/lewis/gardening/master-gardeners/.