The compost drop-off site at the Harpswell Recycling Center and Transfer Station offers instructions on how and what to compost. (PHILIP CONNER PHOTO)

Composting is a practical and convenient way not only to handle your yard waste, but also any fruit and vegetable scraps you have after preparing meals. While you don’t want to put fats and oils, or meat and poultry products, in a home composting bin (they can attract pests), you can compost them at the Harpswell Recycling Center.

So don’t put any of your holiday food scraps into the trash, because Harpswell has a program that can handle any and all leftover, spoiled or unwanted food! The Recycling Center and Transfer Station partners with Garbage to Garden ( to offer an easy way to dispose of your food scraps and other compostable materials for free at the compost drop-off site, right next to recycling and trash.

The program accepts all food scraps, including things you don’t want to put in your home composting: meat, dairy, bones, shells, pits and seeds, wax and parchment paper, pet hair and laundry lint. It also accepts things you can put in home composting, so if you don’t want to compost at home, you can bring your scraps from vegetables, fruit, coffee grounds and filters, eggshells, cooked and spoiled food, napkins and food-soiled paper, small plants and flowers, nonplastic wine corks, and even toothpicks.

It’s so easy to collect your food scraps and compostable items at home. First, remove all non-organics, such as metal, plastic, glass and rubber. Next, take your compostable items with your recycling and trash to the Recycling Center, and empty the materials into the green collection totes on site. It’s OK to use the green compostable bags for an easier transfer to the totes.

Holidays are the perfect time to make use of this service! Turkey scraps and bones, the plate-scrapings from uneaten food, and even wax paper and napkins (if paper) can be accepted at the compost bins. You’ll be saving Harpswell money and helping conserve resource, so make a New Year’s resolution to recycle your food waste into compost.

Compost is created by combining all the materials Harpswell collects with materials from other towns and businesses at a central location. These materials are then added to existing piles of compost, leaves, grass clippings and farm waste. The mix is occasionally scooped and flipped while it breaks down. This process, along with the sun and elements, creates a rich, soil-like mix. Fresh compost is then made available for sale in the spring. If you would like some ready-made compost, visit the Recycling Center and pick some up. Your plants and gardens will thank you.

The Harpswell Recycling Center and Transfer Station, 21 Community Drive, Harpswell, has a host of information on its webpage to help you manage all your solid waste. The page includes details on everything you can recycle and compost.