Backyard Composting

Can organic waste be reclaimed to reduce negative impact on land, air and water? Yes! Composting!

About 30% of our trash is organic waste from yard greenery and kitchen scraps. Open burning is illegal in the state of Hawai‘i. When organics are left in landfills anaerobic decomposition (because of the lack of oxygen) generates landfill gases including methane. While methane is a key ingredient of naturally occurring hydrocarbon gas (natural gas) and a high efficient energy fuel, keeping organic matter out of the landfill will reduce carbon dioxide and human-made methane emissions, which are greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

Compost is dark, crumbly decomposing organic matter essential to healthy soil. The most simple and cost-effective method for recycling greenwaste and food waste is to compost at your home, farm, school or business. Compost is a valuable resource for growing plants and food. By composting on-site, you have the added benefit of avoiding the transportation costs associated with hauling greenwaste and/or food waste to another location for recycling or disposal. Composting can divert up to 54% of household waste from the landfill and create garden gold for healthy, nutritious plants.


  • County of Hawaii Greenwaste Recycling Program allows residential self-hauled greenwaste from private residential property for composting into mulch. Businesses, farms, government agencies and non-profits are prohibited from dropping off greenwaste at any County Recycling & Transfer Station. As a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death caused by Ceratocystis fimbriata, please do not bring any ‘ōhi‘a plant material to County greenwaste collection sites; compost the material on-site. For details and locations visit:
  • Start a simple compost/mulch pile in your backyard. For information on how to compost, download our free brochure: Recycle Hawaii Backyard Composting. 
  • Sign up for a composting workshop. See
    Recycle Hawaii Compost Workshops

For more information see 

Concrete block three bin compost unit

Green Cone Composting Information

Plastic tub worm bin diagram

Plastic tub worm bin plan

Various Bin Styles

Wire mesh compost unit

Wood and wire three bin composting unit

Wood Worm composting bin plans