Placing empty bottles and old newspapers into the recycling bin is an automatic reflex for many people. But somewhat of an air of mystery still remains around the act of composting. Frequently asked questions include: Will saving food scraps make my house or yard smell? (No, as long as you manage it properly.) What exactly can be composted? (Nearly anything that grows.)

While composting is not quite as easy as tossing a soda can into a recycling bin, it’s not hard to learn — and the benefits to the environment are numerous. CalRecycle’s website provides a good introduction to home composting.

If you don’t want to compost at home, check out our FREE Residential Food Waste Program.

Get more information on how to compost with these resources:

Compost Bin

Better Homes and Gardens and The Kitchn both offer great starter guides with lots of photos.

Worm Bin

Living in tight quarters poses unique challenges for those who want to compost, but a worm composting bin is a great alternative that you can keep under the kitchen sink. Find out more on our worm composting page. Another alternative to a home compost bin is bokashi composting.

compostable utensilsDon’t be confused by compostable utensils: They don’t belong in recycling or backyard compost piles. Put them in your garbage bin.


Don’t put bioplastics in your backyard pile. Commercial facilities are better at composting tough materials because they can reach higher temperatures. That’s why meats and bioplastics are accepted in our Residential Food Waste Program but will not fully decompose in your home compost bin.

And a few more tips: