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Composting at Home

Composting is nature's way of recycling. Yard waste and food waste are broken down and become food for plants.

This page contains general information about composting at home, including links to the other pages related to composting.

NEW! Updated Composting Booklet Now Available!

In our brand new waste reduction and composting booklet, we take waste reduction to a whole new level...in a very easy way. If you're interested in learning how to reduce your food and yard waste, and also learn different methods of composting, this is the booklet for you! Click here for the PDF or contact us if you'd like a hard copy (Santa Barbara County residents only please).

What is composting?

Composting is just another form of recycling. When you compost, you're tapping into the natural nutrient cycle. In nature, organic waste from plants and animals is recycled by decomposition. Composting is controlling that decomposition to speed it up and produce a stable and odorless material for plants to use.

Why compost?

Composting your kitchen scraps and yard waste at home can help divert material from your local landfill and provide a good quality product for use in your yard and garden. Home composting is both fun and easy to do, and does not require large investments of time, money, or effort to be successful. Read more on our Benefits of Composting page!

What about compost bins?

You don't need a compost bin to compost, but the County offers a discounted composting bin program if you want one. The bins are made by Earth Machine and are sold for $40.00 each (price includes tax). Learn more about our  discounted compost bin sale.

An even less expensive approach is to simply maintain a compost pile in a remote part of your yard. You can also construct a compost enclosure from a variety of materials. Find more information in our composting booklet below.

Are other types of bins available?

Commercial composting bins are generally available at local nurseries, feed stores, garden shops, and home improvement stores. Depending on the model, costs vary from $25 to $300, though most sell in the $50 to $125 range. Check out where to buy composting bins on our Retail Compost Bins Page.

What about worm composting?

If you live in an apartment or condominium and would like to compost your kitchen scraps, you might consider vermicomposting. Vermicomposting uses red worms in a small container to convert your fruit and vegetable peelings into a nitrogen-rich compost product that is perfect for house plants and planter boxes. Read more on our Vermicomposting page.

Check out our composting booklet!

County staff developed a downloadable composting booklet that teaches the ins and outs of composting. The newly updated Composting ABC's is available as a PDF or hard copy. If you'd like a hard copy and live in Santa Barbara County, contact us and we'll send you one.

And attend one of our free workshops!

County staff holds free backyard composting workshops in the spring. Read more about them on our Compost Workshop page. Or have your composting questions answered by calling (805) 882-3618 or contacting us. Just give us a little time to respond!

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