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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.

Updated Composting Booklet Now Available!

In our newly updated waste reduction and composting booklet, we take waste reduction to a whole new 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!

Composting ABCs Cover Small2

Download the PDF in English or Spanish, 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.


Click here to watch this great composting video for kids. (Adults will like it, too!)

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 a more contained system. The bins are made by Earth Machine and are sold for $55.00 each (price includes tax). Learn more about our discounted compost bin sale.

An even less expensive approach is to simply maintain an open compost pile in 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, or don't generate yard waste, you might consider vermicomposting for your kitchen scraps. 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 ABC's and Food Forward booklets!

Our newly updated Composting ABC's is available as a PDF in English or Spanish. Also check out our latest publication, Food Forward: Reduce Your Food Waste.

If you live in Santa Barbara County and would like a hard copy of either booklet, contact us and we'll send you one. Please don't forget to include your mailing address!

And attend one of our free workshops

County staff holds free year-round backyard composting workshops. 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!

Can't make a workshop? Check out the video below that we created with our partners at Explore Ecology.

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