The program collects food scraps, yard trimmings, food-soiled paper and natural fibers, and converts them into nutrient-rich compost. Because materials are processed in a commercial composting facility, extremely high temperatures are reached, allowing Austinites to compost items like meat, dairy, seafood and bones that typically cannot be composted in a backyard. This program is part of the City of Austin’s zero waste goal to divert 90% of materials from landfills by 2040. 

Why compost?

A recent study showed that almost half of everything residential customers send to the landfill could have been composted. Compostable material cannot break down in a landfill, as it would in nature or in a compost pile. Instead, it decomposes without oxygen, releasing harmful methane into the atmosphere. Organic material placed in green carts is transported to a local facility, where it breaks down into compost, can be used to help soil retain water and fertilize lawns and gardens without chemicals.

Collection guidelines

  • Place your composting cart at the curb by 5:30 a.m. on your collection day.

  • Place trash, recycling and compost carts five feet apart, with the lids fully closed, to allow our automated trucks to collect materials safely and efficiently. 

  • We will collect the contents of your green cart and up to 15 extra items placed beside the cart (including lawn and leaf bags, reusable containers and small branch bundles):

    • Extra composting material that does not fit into your green cart with the lid closed should be placed in lawn and leaf bags or a reusable container (no larger than 34 gallons and no heavier than 50 pounds) and placed beside the cart.

    • Small branches (no longer than five feet and no thicker than three inches in diameter) that do not fit into the green cart with the lid closed should be stacked into manageable bundles no heavier than 30 pounds. (Large brush and tree limbs longer than five feet and thicker than three inches in diameter can be collected during periodic large brush collection or dropped off at the Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Plant at no charge.)

    • Extra composting material over 15 items can be set out the following week. Yard trimming items like tree limbs, branches, shrubs and leaves can also be dropped off at the Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Plant.

  • Material placed at the curb in plastic bags will be collected as trash and will be subject to extra trash fees.

  • Did we miss your cart? Call Austin Resource Recovery at 3-1-1 or send us an e-mail within two days of the missed collection. We will come by to pick up the missed material as soon as possible. 

Learn how to compost

Read our comprehensive guide to learn everything you need to know about curbside composting in Austin. Watch these short videos to get quick tips: