Composting

Residents can get free compost, take a workshop and get a compost bin, join gardening clubs, and learn about yard trimmings and food scraps programs.   

Compost Workshops & Bins

The Santa Clara County Home Composting Program offers home composting workshops at the Mountain View Community Center in Rengstorff Park and other locations. Learn how to turn your grass, leaves and kitchen scraps into nutritious soil for your garden and get a compost bin at a discounted rate.

Pre-register for the workshop and learn how you can get a compost bin by contacting the Rotline at (408) 918-4640 or online.

In addition, you can also join neighborhood composters or learn more by searching the web or visiting these websites:

  • Bay Area Recycling Outreach Coalition "Food Too Good To Waste" has lots of tips.
  • Peninsula Composting Club is a peer-to-peer email support network of Bay Area composting enthusiasts eager to share their experiences and learn from others' experiences.  
  • Mountain View Neighborhood Associations for neighborhood composting groups or blogs.
  • Bay Area EcoGardens for one-stop information about water conservation, composting, integrated pest management, plant selection and classes and events related to sustainable gardening.  Program is funded by a collaboration of governmental agencies in Santa Clara and San Mateo County. 
  • Water Conservation for more information about how to save water in Mountain View.

Master Composters

Learn more about how to compost in your back yard and teach others by becoming a Master Composter in Santa Clara County. Call (408) 918-4640 for more information.

Training includes workshops on the art and science of basic and worm composting, field trips, certification and all training materials. Master Composter training enhances the skills of community leaders, activists, educators, environmentalists, gardeners, and recyclers. We encourage adults of all ages and abilities to apply. If you have ideas and energy for community participation, this class is for you.

Free Compost & Mulch Ready-To-Use

Mountain View residents may pick up free finished compost and mulch at the SMaRT Station seven days a week, which is located at 301 Carl Road at the intersection of Caribbean Drive and Borregas Avenue in Sunnyvale (408-752-8530).  These materials are only available to residents of Mountain View, Palo Alto and Sunnyvale.  There is no charge for the compost or mulch, but you must load it yourself.

Compost

Recology collects yard trimmings throughout the community and brings it to the SMaRT Station in Sunnyvale for processing. The Station produces a quality, finished compost in loose piles as shown in the above picture.  The yard trimmings are sent to an off-site commercial composting facility, where it is screened for contaminants, and after a period of many weeks, the material is returned to the SMaRT Station for use as finished compost.  During rainy seasons, you may find the compost pile has a protective "sock" to prevent runoff.

Mulch

Mulch is also available, but is only suitable for a top dressing to retain  moisture or discourage weed growth.  The mulch is made from large tree branches, scrap (untreated) lumber, and wood pallets.  It may contain bits of plastic from plant pots or tarps that are mistakenly placed in yard carts by residents.  Mulch is not available during periods of rain. This material is free and best used for a top dressing.

Both mulch and finished compost can be found in piles at the Station and is available only to residents of Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto and Los Altos. Please bring your own shovel and container to load and transport the material. There is a limit of one load per week. These materials are provided to residents at no charge with proof of residency. See more information about compost material quantity limits and tarping requirements at the SMaRT Station.

YARD TRIMMINGS SERVICE

Visit the yard trimmings website page for collection service information.

Residential Food Scraps Collection Pilot

About 1,000 residents are testing a pilot program to add food scraps and food-soiled papers to their yard trimmings cart for weekly collection. The pilot is in a portion of Old Mountain View, which was chosen because of the variety of housing types. 

Each household received a small kitchen pail for the countertop, two boxes of compostable bags to start, instructions, and access to a special website. Residents could place food scraps in the cart with or without a compostable bag, paper bag, or ewspaper liner (no plastic bags). Residents could also use their own kitchen containers to collect food scraps.

The pilot program helps Mountain View and our SMaRT Station partner cities determine the costs and benefits of offering food waste collection for composting.  Each city is testing different pilot collection and processing options. 

The results of the pilot and other options were presented to City Council for their review and consideration of a city-wide program on April 26, 2016.  Visit www.mountainview.gov/whatsnew for the results and the staff report.

Unless you were selected for the pilot, please do not put food scraps in the yard trimmings cart.  The pilot materials are being specially collected and segregated for processing at a State-approved facility. The cost to compost yard trimmings combined with food scraps must be processed for a longer time and higher temperature than yard trimmings.  This process is considerably more expensive than handling only yard trimmings. 

If you use a kitchen disposal for food scraps, learn more about why the Palo Alto Regional Water Quality Control Plant (wastewater treatment) strongly discourages their use at this link.

If you have any concerns or want more information about our programs, please contact the City of Mountain View, Public Works Department, Solid Waste & Recycling at 650-903-6311 or recycle@mountainview.gov

Did you know? Some food scraps are already being captured by the trash sorting equipment at the SMaRT Station. The richly organic material, called "fines", is composted. Methods to increase the capture of compostable materials by mechanical means continue to be explored.  

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