Oh, Rats! How to Avoid Rodents at Community Composting Sites

Date: 29 Aug 2022 | posted in: Composting, waste - composting | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail
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Contrary to popular belief, composting in cities does not cause rodent problems. In fact, composting food scraps, instead of dumping them in the trash, has the power to mitigate rodent pressures in urban neighborhoods.

Oh, Rats! How to Avoid Rodents at Community Composting Sites is designed to support composters at community gardens, schools, urban farms, and other community venues in successfully managing their composting process to avoid rodents. Much of the information in the guide applies regardless of the composting system in place.  

Understanding rodent diet, behavior, and burrowing activity can help community composters avoid creating habitats for them. By supporting well-managed local composting sites, communities can take immediate action in cleaning up their neighborhoods, reducing their waste, and improving their soils. 

Many thanks to the NRDC Food Matters Program and our other funders for supporting the creation of this guide.

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View the Media Release


Oh, Rats!: How to Avoid Rodents at Community Composting Sites features custom graphics created by ILSR’s Clarissa Libertelli:

Download the Rat Facts Graphic

Download the Rodent Prevention Tips Graphic


To share these graphics under creative commons license, free of cost, we request you credit the Institute for Local Self-Reliance by including 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.


For more information on community composting, click here.


Supplemental Resources on How to Prevent Rodent Problems

Presentations: Panel 5 BMPs and Rodent Control

Video: Urban Community Composting: How to Control Rats  (Red Hook Community Farm Compost Operation) 

Webinar: Successful Rat Prevention for Community-Scaled Composting (ILSR)

Webpage: “NYC Rat Academy” (NYC Health)

PDF: Dry Ice Application for Rodent Abatement (DC Health) 


Guides for Building a Gravel Pad:

Webpage: How to Build a Gravel Shed Foundation – The Complete Guide

Webpage: 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)

Training: ILSR’s Community Composting 101 Online Certificate Course (ILSR)

Webpage: Neighborhood Soil Rebuilders Composter Training Program (ILSR)

Webpage: How to Walk Turn a Windrow  (Red Hook Community Farm Compost Operation) 


Composting 101 for Beginners







Want to hear more about rats and climate change? Check out “Rats Aren’t the Problem in Cities. We Are.” on Building Local Power.

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Follow Sophia Hosain:
Sophia Hosain

Sophia Hosain was the Baltimore Lead for ILSR's Composting for Community project from September 2020 to November 2022.

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Follow Clarissa Libertelli:
Clarissa Libertelli

Clarissa Libertelli coordinates the Community Composter Coalition for the Composting for Community initiative, as well as provides graphic design support across all initiatives.