Staff Report

The Santa Barbara County Public Works Department can help residents save money and improve the environment through the Backyard Composting Program. The county offers resources to help residents learn how to compost where they live. The county partners with the cities of Santa Barbara, Solvang and Goleta to provide educational resources free of charge. 

“When you compost leftover food scraps and plant materials in your own residence, you will create your own nutrient-rich soil amendment for your garden and practice sustainability,” Compost Program Specialist Sam Dickinson said.

For composting content, please visit

The county also offers composting bins at wholesale prices at three locations:

  • South Coast Recycling and Transfer Station at 4430 Calle Real in Santa Barbara
  • North County Public Works Building at 620 West Foster Road in Orcutt
  • Santa Ynez Valley Recycling and Transfer Station at 4004 Foxen Canyon Road in Los Olivos

Using a green waste recycling bin is another great way to help complete the organics loop. This loop starts when grass, leaves, flowers and other yard materials are discarded into this bin.

These materials are collected and chipped into mulch, which is then distributed to local residents and farmers. 

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

Residents can get “load your own” mulch for free at the South Coast Recycling and Transfer Station and the Santa Ynez Valley Recycling and Transfer Station. For details visit or call (805) 681-4981 in South County and (805) 686-5084 in North County.

For more information about the Backyard Composting Program, visit the county’s recycling website,, or