Can I Make My Compost Pile Break Down Faster? Email Your compost pile breaks down faster if you mix together the right amounts of green and brown material. Your brown to green ratio is based off of your carbon to nitrogen ratio: 25-30 parts carbon to one part nitrogen is ideal. Keep in mind that food or yard waste all have different C:N ratios (shown here). Don’t get out your calculator for these ratios, instead just eyeball how much you put into the compost pile.