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Contrary to popular belief, urban composting does not cause rodent problems. In fact, composting leftover food instead of throwing it in the trash has the power to alleviate rodent pressure in urban neighborhoods.
Ah, rats! How to avoid rodents at municipal composting sites is designed to help composters in community gardens, schools, urban farms and other community facilities to successfully manage their composting process to avoid rodents. Much of the information in the guide applies regardless of the composting system in place.
Understanding the diet, behavior, and burrowing activities of rodents can help community composters avoid creating habitats for them. By supporting well-run local composting facilities, communities can take immediate action to clean up their neighborhoods, reduce their waste and improve their soils.
Thank you to the NRDC Food Matters Program and our other funders for helping create this guide.
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Oh, Rats!: How to Avoid Rodents at Municipal Composting Sites features custom graphics created by Clarissa Libertelli of ILSR:
To share these graphics for free under the Creative Commons license, we ask that you credit the Institute for Local Self-Reliance by providing the following:
Source: Sophia Hosain, Clarissa Libertelli and Brenda Platt, Oh, Rats! How to Avoid Rodents at Community Composting Sites, Institute for Local Self-Reliance, 2022 (ilsr.org/composting-ohrats). Reprinted with permission.
Click here for more information on municipal composting.
Supplemental resources to prevent rodent problems
Presentations: Panel 5 BMPs and rodent control
Video: Urban Community Composting: How to Control Rats (Red Hook Community Farm Composting Facility)
Webinar: Successful rat prevention for municipal composting (ILSR)
site: “NYC Rat Academy” (NYC Health)
PDF: Dry ice application to control rodents (DC Health)
Instructions for building a gravel base:
site: How to Build a Gravel Shed Foundation – The Complete Guide
site: How to build a gravel shed foundation [Essential Guide]
Additional best management resources
Report: Community Composting Done Right: A Guide to Best Management Practices (ILSR)
Education: ILSR’s Community Composting 101 Online Certificate Course (ILSR)
site: Composter Training Program for Neighborhood Soil Rebuilders (ILSR)
site: How to turn a windrow (Red Hook Community Farm Composting Facility)
Composting 101 for beginners
Want to learn more about rats and climate change? Read “Rats are not the problem in cities. We are.” about building local power.