Composting & Yard Waste

Grass clippings, tree and shrub trimmings, leaves. Rather than throwing them in the trash, yard waste and other organics can be easily composted. Consider creating a pile in your own backyard or compost via a yard waste program. 

Many of the communities in Cuyahoga County offer yard waste collection to their residents. The community may have it's own compost site, or yard waste is hauled to a private facility.  Find details for your community.

The District maintains a list of licensed compost facilities in Cuyahoga County. See the list.

Questions about backyard composting? Not sure why your pile isn't working? Contact the Solid Waste District at 216.443.3749 or e-mail us.

Why Compost?

Composting is a great way to keep organic material out of landfills. It's good environmental practice and an inexpensive way of adding nutrients back into the soil. 

Applying compost to soil improves its texture, structure, aeration ability and water holding capacity. It adds up to improved soil fertility and root development. Trees, flowers or vegetables will grow healthier with less chemicals or fertilizers.

Supplies needed

* Compost bin or outdoor area to compost
* Shovel
* Aeration tool such as a pitch fork or compost aerator
* Small pail to hold kitchen food scraps
* Thermometer
* Organic material such as yard waste, food scraps and shredded paper
* Compost activator or accelerator including urea, manure, or bone meal to help the compost process start quickly and efficiently.


Getting Started

An effective compost pile must be large enough to hold the heat in the center while still allowing air to permeate the pile. When creating a pile, maintain the size from at least 3’ x 3’ x 3’ to no larger than 5’ x 5 x 5’. Adding the same volume of materials to a purchased bin will optimize decomposition.

* Look for a level, well-drained area.
* Keep it accessible.
* Keep the pile or bin in a sunny spot to trap solar heat. If it's too hot, the compost may dry out and need water to continue decomposition.
* Shelter it near a building or landscaping that blocks wind to protect the compost pile from freezing winds.
* Build a pile over permeable soil or lawn.
* Find a spot that allows you to compost discretely, especially if you have neighboring yards close by.


Learn how you can use worms to make compost from your kitchen scraps by creating your own worm bin. View page.


The Solid Waste District holds how-to-compost seminars for county residents and sells affordable compost bins. Seminars are held in spring and fall throughout Cuyahoga County.

Bins and other accessories are available for purchase at the seminars. They can also be purchased at the Solid Waste District, 4750 East 131 Street in Garfield Heights. Hours of operation are M-F 8:30am-4:30pm. Check or cash sales only. All sales are final.

For a list of seminars, compost bins and accessories, visit our Compost Seminar page.

The District publishes guidance documents about backyard composting. See a list of available publications.

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