Staff Report

The Santa Barbara County Public Works Department is urging local residents to save money and improve the environment by taking advantage programs for composting and green-waste recycling.

The county’s Backyard Composting Program offers free workshops in cooperation with Solvang, Santa Barbara and Goleta to teach people how to turn their food scraps into fertilizer.

“Food scraps and yard waste in the landfill is one of our largest generators of methane gas. When you compost leftover food scraps and plant materials in your own backyard, you divert organics from landfills and create a nutrient-rich soil amendment that is great for your garden,” Compost Program Specialist Sam Dickinson said.

Dates of upcoming workshops are available at

The county also sells composting bins at wholesale prices at the Santa Ynez Valley Recycling and Transfer Station, 4004 Foxen Canyon Road in Los Olivos; the South Coast Recycling and Transfer Station at 4430 Calle Real in Santa Barbara; and the North County Public Works Building at 620 W. Foster Road in Orcutt.

When residents use green-waste bins that are picked up at the curb, they “help complete the organics loop,” county officials said. The loop continues when the material are is and chipped into mulch, which is then distributed to local residents and farmers.

Residents can get “load your own” mulch for free at the Santa Ynez and South Coast recycling and transfer stations.

“The main benefit of mulching is water conservation and nutrient input. Returning this mulch to the soil completes the organics loop, with many positive impacts for any garden,” Mulch Program Coordinator Joey Costa said.

For details, visit or call (805) 681-4981 on the South Coast or (805) 686-5084 in the North County.

For more information about the Backyard Composting Program, visit or call (805) 882-3618.