What is Composting and Why Compost?

Composting is nature’s way of recycling. It is the controlled, natural decomposition of organic matter. Microorganisms and macroorganisms break down organic materials into compost, or humus, a nutrient-rich soil amendment that improves the health and efficiency of your garden ecosystem from the ground up. There are many benefits of composting ranging from positive environmental impacts to financial savings. If you are on the fence about starting a compost pile, we hope some of the benefits listed on this page will convince you to start!

Environmental Impacts of Composting:

  • Reduce methane production at landfills caused by decomposition of organic materials.
    • Methane is a greenhouse gas that is more potent than carbon dioxide!
  • Finished compost can be applied to gardens, pastures, and landscapes. This increases organic matter content in the soil which leads to:
    • Healthier food and increased production.
    • Increased water retention which replenishes underground aquifers, decreases runoff, and prevents erosion.
  • Boosts soil microbial health.
  • Erosion control.
    • Compost modifies the physical soil properties, improving water-holding ability and resistance to compaction. For this reason, compost is commonly being used as an erosion control material that enhances soil.

Financial Benefits of Composting:

  • Composting reduces the volume of organic materials, allowing you to save on hauling costs.
  • Increased water retention in the soil means less irrigation, and savings on your water bill.
  • Save money by avoiding the purchase of synthetic fertilizers, soil amendments, and pesticides.
  • Mid-scale composters can gain extra income by selling finished compost (please note permitting requirements may apply and the County of San Diego only allows a certain volume to be sold annually).


How and Why to Compost

Watch this Composting Video to learn more about how and why you should compost! 


Start composting:

The County offers free composting workshops and discounted compost bins to unincorporated area residents. Click on the buttons below to get started!