Organic material such as food and yard waste comprises nearly 30% of the waste generated by U.S. households. In a landfill, these materials decompose anaerobically, creating methane, a potent greenhouse gas. When diverted from the landfill through composting programs, it instead becomes a valuable product that sequesters carbon, builds healthy soil and supports plant health. Like recycling, composting maximizes the value of existing resources through reuse, reduces environmental impacts and creates jobs.

Curbside Composting

Utilizing curbside compost services is a simple action with significant environmental benefits. Yet some folks hesitate to fully utilize the service because of concerns about odors or flies. Here are a few tips to help manage the “yuck” factor:

  • Keep a small compostable bag in your freezer and deposit the food waste there as you generate it. Pull it out and put it in your compost cart on compost day.
  • If you’re not in an area where wildlife is a concern, store scraps in a 5-gallon pail with a lid on your back deck or porch.
  • Deposit food scraps directly into your compost cart and layer with newspaper or pieces of cardboard to absorb moisture.
  • Place a bathroom-sized trash can under the sink lined with a compostable bag. Keep it loosely tied while not in use to keep odor in and flies out.
  • Purchase a container with a tight-fitting lid and keep it on your countertop.
  • Check the internet for any number of “recipes” to combat fruit flies. We find a glass of cider vinegar with a few drops of dish soap to be an elegantly simple solution.
  • Clean your cart periodically; add a few drops of soap and hose it out.

Due to wildlife concerns, the following areas in Boulder County are prohibited from depositing food scraps in their compost bin: East of Highway 36, but west of 39th Street (or 26th Street) and south of Nelson Road. Crestview Estates, Lake of the Pines HOA and the town of Eldorado Springs up to the park entrance.

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Purchase Compost & Mulch at Western

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Compost

Compost is a soil amendment made from organic matter and is integral to keeping your soil thriving and your plants healthy. For overall soil health and plant vigor, the U.S. Composting Council recommends augmenting your soil to a minimum of 5% organic matter.
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Mulch

Mulch performs important work in the garden: retaining moisture, keeping the soil cool and suppressing weeds. It also helps improve soil structure and nutrient-holding capacity as it breaks down. Western’s mulch is made from ground yard waste dropped at our Trash & Recycle Center — 100% local!

Composting Blog Posts

Backyard Composting

Backyard composting is an effective way to reduce your household carbon footprint, and it can be very rewarding to produce your very own quality compost for the garden. While there is certainly a lot of science behind backyard composting, a little know-how will take you a long way.

Composting Tips

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    Feedstock Balance:

    Begin with, and maintain, a 50-50 ratio, by volume, of “browns” and “greens” at all times. If you add a handful of kitchen scraps (which are “greens”) to your pile, you’ll need to add a handful of “browns” (like dried leaves). This means you need to keep a stash of browns handy at all times. Avoid putting meat, bones and dairy in your pile; they require high temperatures rarely achieved in the backyard and attract wildlife.

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    Particle Size:

    All materials going into your bin (greens or browns) must be cut down to 1”–2” in size. Smaller isn’t better. However, coffee grounds are OK.

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    Moisture Content:

    Keep your pile as damp as a wrung-out sponge, and turn it often with a garden pitchfork. Keep the pile accessible to the garden hose and water it by sticking a running hose in the pile, soaking it for a minute or two. Then mix thoroughly to even out the moisture content. Grab a handful from the bin and squeeze. It isn’t as damp as a wrung-out sponge yet? Repeat the above process until it is. Watering and turning should ideally be done once a week but no less than once a month.

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    Aeration:

    Turn your material frequently — don’t dump and run! Mix material each time you add it. This promotes airflow, moisture distribution and an overall healthy environment for worms, insects and microorganisms.

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    Temperature:

    Heat is an indicator of decomposition and metabolic activity. If your pile is warm, then it’s active. Please note the high temperatures required to decompose meat, bones, shredded paper, compostable bags and service ware, napkins and paper towels are difficult to achieve in a backyard compost pile. These materials are best suited for commercial processes and should be placed in your curbside compost cart.