Composting Information

Where Can I Take My Yard Waste?

LOPEZ ISLAND
Midnight’s Farm on Lopez Island operates what is currently the only Washington State Department of Ecology approved compost facility in San Juan County. They compost cattle and pig manure, bedding, old hay, and other agricultural wastes mixed with community drop off yard waste in a static aerated bin system. During the active composting phase, the compost is aerated by blowers providing air into the center of each pile. Every batch is turned at least four times and reaches temperatures of at 135 degrees to kill weed seeds and pathogens. Finally, it is screened to provide a uniform, easy to use, and stable product. This dark compost is sweet smelling, a valuable soil amendment, and rich in microbial life. 

Midnight’s Farm welcomes public drop off of yard waste (grass, leafy material, anything with seeds, deciduous branches, prunings, flowers, weeds, alder, rose bushes, salal or fruit) and wood waste (evergreen branches, stumps up to 10 in diameter, and logs up to 24 in diameter cut into 5 ft lengths). 

They are committed to best agricultural practices, reducing burn piles, and helping island farmers and gardeners by making available quality local compost and wood mulch. For more information, including compost test results, visit www.midnightsfarm.com.  

ORCAS ISLAND
Orcas Recycling Services operators of the Orcas Island Transfer Station accept clean green yard waste for $100 per ton. ORS has been accepting green waste for a couple of years now and recently complete a "big grind" producing over 100 cubic yards of composted mulch.  At $25 per cubic yard, ORS now has its first full-circle zero-waste product for sale.  For more information, visit www.exchangeorcas.org.

Sheet Composting
(using cardboard or newspaper)

The very best destiny for a cardboard box (which is built to be durable!) is for it to be re-used up to five times before considering it waste. This creates less pollution and greatly conserves resources too.

But once you’ve used your boxes to the max, try this alternative to disposal or recycling. By layering areas of your garden or landscape with certain materials, including cardboard and newspaper, you can build healthy soil to create a new weed-free plot or pathway …without much labor at all.

Lasagna composting recipe (sheet composting):

  • Start with a layer of nitrogen-rich material (manure, weeds, grass clippings, leaves in the summer); cover right over existing weeds or chop them up to speed up the “cooking;”
  • Add a layer of carbon-rich material (flattened cardboard or several sheets of newspaper);
  • Cover with a layer of compost and/or straw mulch and wait for the miracle of decomposition to build an enriched bed of plantable soil! Top off your layers in path areas with bark, other mulch material, or gravel.
  • Another layer of cardboard or paper can be added, topped off with compost for a deeper bed.
  • MAKE SURE EACH LAYER IS WELL-WATERED
  • Ask your neighbors to save their cardboard and newspaper for you if they’re not using it themselves.
  • Search the Web for more detailed instructions for “sheet” or “lasagna” composting.

Choose Your System


  • Yard debris pile
  • Worm bin for food scraps
  • Commercial composting bins/ tumblers or rotators
  • 3, or more, bin setup (wood, pallets, screening)
  • Wire cages
  • Garden trench or hole in the ground
  • Buried trash can
Compost Bins
Composting works faster if you mix “browns” and “greens” (3 parts to 1) with air and water. Chop or chip into smaller pieces (especially woody stems). Layer or toss together.
Browns (Bulking Agents)
  • Wood chips
  • Sawdust
  • Eggshells
  • Dry leaves
  • Straw
  • Paper and cardboard
Greens (Energy Materials)
  • Grass clippings
  • Weeds without seed heads
  • Vegetable / fruit scraps
  • Tea / coffee grounds
  • Manure and bedding
  • Yard trimmings
Do Not Compost
  • Diseased plants
  • Weed seeds
  • Dairy products
  • Vegetable oils
  • Meat / fish scraps, fat, or bones
  • Cat / dog/ pig wastes
Additional Resources
  • WSU Extension
    • Phone: 360-378-4414
    • Location:
      221 Weber Way Suite LL
      Friday Harbor, WA 98250
Composting Class