Composting is nature's way of recycling. It's a great way to keep organic materials out of landfills and recover nutrients for new garden plants. San Jose has an ambitious Zero Waste initiative, aimed at getting the city to produce no waste by 2022. You can do your part right away by separating your trash correctly, and by doing your own backyard composting. You can also help by choosing products and services which create less waste. 

What can I put in green waste?

  • Yard waste (cut branches into pieces no loner than 5 feet and no bigger than 6 inches in diameter).
  • Clippings and trimmings. (Spent flowers, lawn clippings, etc.)
  • Christmas trees (Remove decorations and tinsel. No flocking.)
  • Fallen leaves. 
  • Sod (remove as much soil as possible). 

What can't I put in green waste?

  • Don't put fruits, vegetables, pumpkins, or other food waste in with your green waste. You can, however, compost most of this matter in your home compost.
  • Don't include waste which should go into the landfill or which should be recycled.

Where does my green waste go?

  • Put your green waste in a green bin if you have one. Yard waste carts come in different sizes, and are available for an additional monthly fee.  
  • If not, place it in five-foot piles in the street, one foot from the curb. Avoid blocking the bike lane with green waste.
  • See this page for more information on yard waste collection.

Home composting

Home composting is allowed and encouraged. If you have a garden, a compost pile is a great, natural, and low-cost way to nourish it. Sign up for a free composting class (many come with the opportunity to buy or if you get great at it, consider becoming a Master Composter and teaching others about composting.

A note about compostable utensils and containers

Most plastics which state that they are compostable are only compostable in high-temperature, industrial facilities. Creating the plastics and composting them are both high-energy processes. Instead, use reusable containers to reduce waste, or try to find recyclable plastics (not polystyrene). Discard most compostable plastics with garbage. It will go to the landfill.