Organics & Composting
print friendly textonly
feature head more features
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, applying compost puts organic resources into the soil, providing a non-chemical alternative to fertilizers. 

Curbside yard trimming collection is available to residents (compost is made available at periodic events) and backyard and worm composting are also options.

Free Composting Workshops

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

Discounted Backyard Compost Bins

The City of Foster City and San Mateo County have discounted rates for backyard composting and vermicomposting (worm composting) bins through Triformis Corporation.  Click here to view the City of Foster City's Compost Bin Incentive Program.

Free Compost Giveaway Events

Foster City offers Compost Give-Away events multiple times each year.  This compost is created from residents' yard trimmings collected and composted by 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 Year Round at Shoreway Environmental Center

Foster City residents can now get free compost year-round at Shoreway Environmental Center. Go to the scale house (accessible via Gate 1) and show proof of residency in the form of a utility bill or identification card. You will then be directed to the Transfer Station to be provided with up to two 3-cubic foot empty paper bags for the compost. Residents fill and load the bags themselves. Shovels are provided.

Limits are two bags per visit and two visits per week while supplies last. The free compost is for residents only, not for commercial use.

Free Compost for Foster City Schools

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.  Learn how to save money, control weeds, and create healthy landscapes with mulch: click here.  Find out more about the benefits of mulch from Rescape CA.

City Hall - 610 Foster City Blvd.
Foster City, CA 94404
(650) 286-3200