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Santa Barbara County Program Helps Residents with Backyard Composting

The Santa Barbara County Public Works Department supports alternatives to throwing food scraps and yard waste into the landfill — one of the largest generators of methane gas.

“Leftover food scraps and plant materials can be naturally recycled in your own backyard into a nutrient-rich soil amendment,” said Sam Dickinson, program specialist with the department. “Compost is great for your garden and diverts organics from landfills.”

You can take part in the county’s Backyard Composting Program to save money and reduce your environmental impacts at the same time! The county offers composting bins at wholesale prices at the South Coast Recycling and Transfer Station at 4430 Calle Real in Santa Barbara. The county also offers free workshops to learn how to compost in your own backyard:

» Santa Ynez Valley Workshop — Saturday, May 18 from 10 to 11:30 a.m., Solvang Branch Library, 1745 Mission Drive in Solvang

» Santa Barbara Workshop — Saturday, June 1 from 10 to 11:30 a.m., SBCC’s Life Scape Garden, East Campus entrance, past the stadium, in Santa Barbara

» Santa Maria Workshop — Saturday, June 8 from 10 to 11:30 a.m., Santa Maria Valley Sustainable Garden, 624 W. Foster Road in Orcutt

The Santa Barbara County Public Works Department partners with the cities of Solvang, Santa Barbara and Goleta to provide these fun workshops free of charge.

Using your green waste recycling bin is another great way to help complete the organics loop. Yard waste materials like grass, leaves, flowers and other plants that are discarded into this bin are collected and chipped into a mulch product distributed locally to residents and farmers. Returning this mulch to the soil completes the loop, with many positive impacts for any garden.

“The main benefit of mulching is water conservation and nutrient input,” said Joey Costa, the county’s mulch program coordinator.

Get free “load your own” mulch at the South Coast Recycling and Transfer Station in Santa Barbara. For details, call Costa at 805.681.4981. Be sure to ask him about low-cost loading and delivery options, too.

For more information about the Backyard Composting or Mulch Program, call 805.882.3618 or click here to visit the county’s recycling website.

— Sam Dickinson is a program specialist for the Santa Barbara County Public Works Department.

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