Organics & Composting
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Organics & Composting

What is Composting?

Composting, nature's way of recycling, is the controlled decomposition of organic material such as leaves, twigs, grass clippings, and vegetable food scraps. "Compost" is the valuable, nutrient-rich soil product that results from proper composting. Composting helps to keep the high volume of organic material out of our landfills and turns that material into a useful product. Proper management of yard trimmings reduces the nutrient runoff to wetlands and the Bay, thereby promoting better water quality. Additionally, by applying compost to yards, we are putting organic resources into our soil, providing a non-chemical alternative to fertilizers. Not only is curbside yard trimming collection available to residents for large-scale composting, but backyard and worm composting are additional options.

Free Composting Workshop at the Foster City Recreation Center

Learn how to compost or vermicompost (compost with worms) so that you can turn your yard and kitchen scraps into a valuable resource. Also learn the magic of using the finished product in your garden, potted plants, or on your lawn. More information is available on the Park and Recreation web page under "Adult Classes" or click here for more information.

Free home composting workshops and discounted compost bins and worm bins are available through RecycleWorks, a program of the County of San Mateo. Click here for more information.

Free Compost Giveaway Events

Keep checking our site for Composting Events offered Multiple Times a Year--created from residents' yard trimmings collected from Recology San Mateo County.  Foster City residents can take up to 1 cubic yard of compost (equivalent to six full garbage cans), free of charge. Bring shovels, gloves, and containers to the next event. Go to the Events Calendar on the Foster City Home Page for the next scheduled event and location.

Free Compost at Shoreway Year-Round

Foster City residents can now get free compost year-round at Shoreway to use in their gardens! Residents simply need to go to the scale house (accessible via Gate 1) and show proof of residency in the form of a utility bill or identification card to the attendant. Residents will then be directed to the Transfer Station where they will then be provided with up to two 3-cubic feet empty paper bags for the compost. Residents need to fill and load the bags themselves. Shovels are provided.

Limits are two bags per visit and two visits per week, based on the compost being in stock. The free compost is for residents only, not for
commercial use.


Any school in Foster City that is planning a garden project or landscaping project is qualified to receive up to five 50-pound bags of compost or up to 20 cubic yards of compost per school year.

To learn more about how to obtain free compost for your school, please read and fill out the attached form:


Mulch is any material spread evenly over the surface of the soil to enhance the growth of plants and the appearance of the landscape.

To learn how to save money, control weeds, and create healthy landscapes with mulch click here.

To find out more about the benefits of mulch go to

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