Backyard Composting

CART encourages Lansing residents to compost leaves, grass clippings, garden wastes and other organic material by using a backyard compost pile or bin. Through the natural process of composting, leaves and grass clippings from your yard can be transformed into a nutrient-rich substance called compost. Many communities are re-discovering the ancient art of composting and the benefit of compost for building healthy soil.

It can take anywhere from one month to two years to make finished compost, depending on the following factors:
  • Balance of “green” and “brown” materials
  • How often the pile is turned or aerated
  • Moisture levels
  • Size of materials (the smaller the materials, the quicker they decompose)
  • Type of compost bin or pile

Compost Guide

If you would like a printed copy of a Compost Guide that includes additional resources and tips on backyard composting, please email [email protected] Download or print the digital version of the Compost Guide below. Please note that the quality is not as high as the printed version.

Access the digital version of the Compost Guide.

Garden Guide

Find interesting information about maintaining a healthy lawn in this "Garden Guide."


"Grasscycling" simply means leaving the clippings of grass on the lawn after mowing.

What's the benefit of grasscycling?
  • Valuable nutrients found in grass clippings are returned back into the soil, creating a sort of fertilizer.
  • Time and effort that is spent bagging grass clippings is saved and can be used elsewhere.
  • The expense of purchasing yard waste paper bags for curbside collection is minimized.
  • "Thatch," the combination of living and dead matter that accumulates towards the roots of the grass, is not caused by grass clippings. 


Shredded leaves, grass clippings, hay, straw, pine needles and other yard materials can be used as mulch. Mulch should be placed around flowers, vegetables, bushes and trees.

Mulch provides the following benefits:
  • As natural mulch decomposes, it provides nutrients to plants and soil.
  • Mulch helps control insects and diseases.
  • Mulch keeps soil warmer during the winter when the ground is cold.
  • Mulch adds moisture to the soil, so the need for watering and weeding is reduced.
Compost 101