What to compost (and what not to)

June 29, 2023

When most people hear “compost” the first thing that comes to mind might be old tree stumps or banana peels. However, you may be surprised by the number of things around your house that can be turned into nutrient-rich compost blends for gardening and landscaping, both indoors and outdoors. So, what if there was an option to divert those organic compostable materials from ending up in a landfill?

The SMSC Organics Recycling Facility is here to help. We compost eligible waste products in three general categories: yard waste, wood waste, and food waste. Below are the acceptable items in each category.

Eligible items for yard waste drop-off include:

  • Sod and dirt
  • Grass clippings
  • Leaves
  • Mulch
  • Straw and hay
  • Plants
  • Flowers
  • Bushes and shrubs

Eligible items for Wood Waste Drop Off include:

  • Brush
  • Logs
  • Wood chips
  • Stumps (stumps larger than 2ft in diameter are charged $45 per stump)

Note: Any painted, treated, or glued wood products are not accepted. No lumber or furniture.

Eligible items for Food Waste Drop Off include:

  • Produce and produce leftovers (peelings, pits, and shells)
  • Meat, fish, bones
  • Dairy products
  • Eggshells
  • Bakery items and dry grains
  • Pet food
  • Coffee grounds and the filters
  • Tea bags
  • Food-soiled paper products (like napkins and paper towels)
  • “Certified Compostable” plates, bowls, and containers
  • Unprinted, food-soiled cardboard
  • Wooden chopsticks, popsicle sticks, and toothpicks
  • Paper egg cartons (Styrofoam is not compostable)

These items are not accepted for compost: grease, oil, pizza boxes, cartons (milk, juice, broth, etc.), fast food wrappers, butcher paper, microwave popcorn bags, ice cream tubs, glass, plastic, metal, pet waste, feminine products, chemicals, cigarettes, ashes, or cardboard.

For local Scott County residents, there is also a free program for household waste. These residents can sign up online or in person to join this household composting program, which includes a free composting bin and 25 compostable bags to get them started. When ready, residents can drop off their food waste at the facility free of charge!

Not a local resident? No problem! You can still drop off your accepted food waste items at the SMSC Organics Recycling Facility for a fee.

Yard and wood waste are accepted for both residents and non-residents for a fee. Twice a year, residents can take advantage of our free yard waste drop-off. Make sure to keep an eye on our website or social media for those limited-time events.

If you still have questions or are ready to get signed up for the Household Organics Recycling Program, give us a call or send us a message online!