Santa Barbara County Public Works Department can help residents save money and help the environment with its Backyard Composting Program. Three public workshops will be offered this month in Santa Barbara and Isla Vista to help residents learn how to compost in their own backyard.

Sam Dickinson, compost program specialist, said, “Food scraps and yard waste in the landfill is one of our largest generators of methane gas.

“When you compost leftover food scraps and plant materials in your own backyard you divert organics from landfills and create a nutrient-rich soil amendment that is great for your garden.”

The Santa Barbara County Public Works Department partners with the cities of Santa Barbara and Goleta to provide these workshops for free:

» Santa Barbara Workshop: Saturday, April 8, 10–11:30 a.m. at SBCC’s Life Scape Garden, East Campus entrance, past the stadium.

» Isla Vista Workshop: Saturday, April 15, noon–1 p.m. at Isla Vista Food Co-op, 6575 Seville Road.

» Santa Barbara Workshop: Thursday, April 20, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. at SBCC Earth Day Event, SBCC West Campus, 721 Cliff Drive.

The county also offers composting bins at wholesale prices at the South Coast Recycling and Transfer Station, 4430 Calle Real in Santa Barbara.

Using a green-waste recycling bin is another way to help complete the organics loop. This loop starts when grass, leaves, flowers and other yard materials are discarded into this bin. These materials are collected and chipped into mulch, which is then distributed to local residents and farmers.

Mulch program coordinator Joey Costa said, “The main benefit of mulching is water conservation and nutrient input. Returning this mulch to the soil completes the organics loop, with many positive impacts for any garden.”

Residents can get load-your-own mulch for free at the South Coast Recycling and Transfer Station. For details, visit or call 681-4981.

For more information about the Backyard Composting Program, visit the county’s recycling website or call 882-3618.

— Lael Wageneck for Santa Barbara County Public Works.