November 30, 2021

Homer sells composting bins

Compost bin

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The village of Homer is offering people the chance to buy a compost bin for the fraction of the cost as part of the village’s Climate Smart Communities Task Force’s effort to increase sustainability and impact climate change.

“This was a great idea and one of the action items of the CSC (Climate Smart Communities) plan, and we ran with it,” said Mayor Darren “Hal” McCabe.

The village board created the Climate Smart Communities Task Force in February to find ways the village can reach certification as a Climate Smart Community, a state program. The idea of a Climate Smart Community is to take steps “in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving climate resilience,” according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Pursuing projects through the program can help reduce a community’s costs — such as installing energy-efficient LED lighting — while reducing its carbon footprint, the DEC reports. It also makes a community eligible for state grants to fund the projects.

More than 250 New York municipalities are registered for the program so far, including Cortland, Preble, Dryden and the village and town of Moravia.

The Earth Machine composting bins can be purchased for $41.77 — a fraction of the $99 listed at some retailers — because the village bulk-ordered 100 of them, said Kristen Case, the deputy clerk and treasurer. So far, more than 55 orders have been placed.

How to buy a bin

Print the order form online at and mail it or bring it to the village office at 31 N. Main St., Homer or stop by the village offices to fill out the form.

Village Deputy Clerk and Treasurer Kristen Case said anyone can purchase a bin.

“It’s not limited to village residents,” Case said. “If other people want to get it through us they can. I know we’ve had people say they were picking up a couple as Christmas presents.”

Sean Vormwald, a task force member, said he is ordering one of the bins, even though he already has a composting bin, to give a different brand a try.

“We’re excited to try it out and see how it works,” Vormwald said. “I think this is a great way to encourage village residents to compost. I compost in my own backyard and it’s a pretty easy way to recycle your kitchen food scraps.”

The bin order form states three reasons for getting a compost bin:

  • To reduce the amount of garbage generated by 80%, meaning less tax dollars would be spent on collection and disposal. The landfill charges an $80 per ton tipping fee.
  • It would create nutrient- rich compost to use for a garden, lawn, trees, shrubs and house plants.
  • It would decrease a person’s carbon footprint by reducing landfill waste.

McCabe said he doesn’t compost at the moment.

“But it is for the lack of a bin, so I am looking forward to starting,” McCabe said. “I already purchased two bins, one for me, and one for my mother and sister to use.”

He said he will use the compost to help grow garlic, hot peppers and flower beds.

“I’m not much of a gardener, so anything I have left I will donate to my relatives or the community gardens,” he said.

What to compost

  • Kitchen greens: Fruit and vegetable scraps, houseplant cuttings, coffee grounds, rice and pasta, egg shells and tea bags
  • Kitchen browns: Coffee filters, stale bread, paper napkins and towels, dryer lint and hair
  • Yard greens: Flowers, vegetables, plant trimmings, hedge clippings and grass
  • Yard browns: Straw or hay, small twigs or chips, dried grass and weeds
    Source: Homer Village

McCabe also hopes to offer a class on how to compost either through Cornell Cooperative Extension or the Cortland County Soil and Water Conservation District.

“I think that would increase the chances that our residents develop the composting habit, which of course saves us all money as it is less waste to the landfill or to the wastewater treatment plant,” he said.