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Home Backyard Composting Basics

In a successful pile you will find friendly bugs, worms, and micro-organisms that will do most of the composting for you. The following four essential ingredients provide these creatures with the best environment to do their “work.”

A healthy compost pile will contain the “big four”

1. Browns are carbon rich, dry, woody materials such as fallen leaves, hay, dried plants and weeds.

2. Greens are nitrogen rich, green, moist materials such as kitchen scraps, young weeds, and grass clippings. Your "green" sources will act as the activator in your pile.  See the table below for examples.

3. Water your pile until it is moist but not wet, or the consistency of a wrung-out sponge.

4. Air added to your pile will significantly speed up its decomposition.  You can do this by turning, or layering with bulky materials to create air spaces between materials.

  • Do Compost

  • Fallen Leaves - browns
  • Finely chopped, woody prunings - browns
  • Pine needles - browns
  • Untreated wood sawdust - browns
  • Breads and Grains- greens
  • Tea bags - greens
  • Coffee grounds - greens
  • Egg shells - greens
  • Lawn clippings - greens
  • Young weeds - greens
  • Vegetable & fruit peels and scraps - greens
  • Manure from non-meat eating animals
  • Don't Compost

  • Meat & bones
  • Fish
  • Dairy products
  • Greasy foods
  • Plywood sawdust
  • Treated wood sawdust
  • Diseased plants
  • Dog, cat, or bird feces
  • Poison Oak
  • Bermuda grass, ivy & rhizome grasses
  • BBQ or coal ashes

Holiday Schedule

Buena Vista Location

1231 Buena Vista Drive
Watsonville, CA

(831) 454-2430 or
(831) 454-5154

Santa Cruz County Landfill
Open Monday - Saturday
7:30 am to 3:30 pm

BV Household
Hazardous Waste
Open every Wednesday,
Friday and Saturday
7:30 am to 3:30 pm

Ben Lomond Location 

(1 Mile North of Glen Arbor Rd)
9835 Newell Creek Road
Ben Lomond, CA

(831) 454-2430 or
(831) 336-3951

Santa Cruz County
Transfer Station
Open Monday - Saturday
7:30 am to 3:30 pm

BL HHW Facility
Open every Thursday
7:30 am to 3:30 pm

Other Household Hazardous Waste 

City of Santa Cruz Resource Recovery Facility
Open every Saturday
7:30 am to 3:30 pm.

(3 miles north of Santa Cruz city limits off Hwy 1)
605 Dimeo Lane
Santa Cruz, CA

(831) 420-6270

Santa Cruz County
Solid Waste & Recycling
Main Office

701 Ocean Street, Room 410
Santa Cruz, California 95060
(831) 454-2160

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