Composting in Marin


Whether you are composting for hauler pick-up or for your own backyard, review these easy tips to help you get started. Zero Waste Marin also offers composting courses to Marin County residents.

Where can I get a compost pail?

  • Zero Waste Marin hands out kitchen compost pails during many local events, including fairs, community events, and farmers markets. Keep your eye out for the Zero Waste Marin booth at your next community event, and ask for your free pail! Or, check out the News & Events page to see when Zero Waste Marin will be in your community.
  • You can also contact your local hauler to see if they provide compost pails or create your own pail at home – all you need is an empty old coffee can with a sealable lid and a package of charcoal filters. Get detailed instructions here.

Composting for Hauler Pick Up

  • Fill your compost pail with all food scraps including: banana peels, potato skins, eggshells, coffee grounds, dairy, meat and bread. Food soiled paper including pizza boxes and paper plates and yard waste such as leaves, grass, and weeds is also collected by your hauler.
  • Don’t put plastic lined containers (Starbucks cups), tissue paper, any “compostable” plastics, cleaning chemicals, pet waste or diseased plants in your compost pail.
  • Get a list of items that can go in your compost pail.
  • Keep the pail on your kitchen counter or under the sink until full. Once full, empty into green waste cart provided by your hauler.

Composting for your Backyard

You can buy a backyard bin from your local hardware store or create your own. Zero Waste Marin also sells them at a discount during our composting courses. Here are some tips to get started on backyard composting:

  • Transfer the organic waste from your kitchen compost pail to your backyard compost pile as often as needed.
  • Avoid adding pesticide and herbicide treated grass clippings, leaves, twigs, straw, acorns, moss and algae.
  • Do not fill your backyard compost pile with meat scraps, fish bones, bacon fat, cleaning chemicals, pet waste or diseased plants, all of which are capable of attracting pests and spreading disease.
  • To speed up the composting cycle, place your compost bin in an area that will receive sunlight. Use a compost turner, pitchfork or shovel to aerate your pile every two weeks by mixing up the contents (as if you were tossing a salad).
  • A great compost has a balance of carbon, nitrogen, air and water. Click here to learn more.


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