Organics Recycling in Santa Barbara County

What’s the story with our yard waste and food scraps?

By now you must have heard the good news that Santa Barbara County businesses and residents are recycling green waste and food waste! Fortunately, the County’s long-standing organics recycling programs and new ReSource Center will ensure that our community achieves and exceeds compliance with new statewide requirements.

Commercial and residential waste that is thrown into a trash cart or bin in Buellton, Goleta, Santa Barbara, Solvang, and the unincorporated areas of the Cuyama Valley, Santa Ynez Valley, and South Coast is processed at the County Public Works Department’s newly opened ReSource Center. Recyclable materials are recovered and sold, and organics (including food waste) are separated from trash and transformed into compost and energy – enough energy to power up to 3,000 homes per year. With this new facility, approximately 60% of additional waste from our trash cans is diverted from the landfill, bringing our region’s diversion rate to above 85% while significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This means that residents who live or work in these areas do not need to change how they manage waste to meet the new requirements.

In addition to the ReSource Center, the County offers other ways for the community to recover and recycle organics:

  • Yard waste collection: Continue putting your grass clippings, leaves, and yard trimmings in your green bin. Please do not mix food scraps with your yard waste, as it interferes with the production of mulch. Visit to learn more about the County’s Mulch Program.
  • Backyard composting: The County’s Backyard Composting Program makes it easy to compost where you live. Visit to access a free “Composting ABC’s” booklet and learn about the discounted composting bin program. Within months, you can create your own on-site compost for your garden.
  • Commercial food scraps collection and processing: The County’s Commercial Food Scraps Collection Program is available to large food scraps generators, such as schools, restaurants, and grocery stores. The collected food scraps are processed at the ReSource Center, increasing the overall quality of the finished compost.

As a reminder, for those living in the ReSource Center “wasteshed,” there’s no change in how you need to manage your waste. Residents should continue using their green waste, recycling, and trash containers in the same way they always have. Please contact the County Public Works Department with any questions at (805) 882-3600 or

Photo: Organic material is laid out in rows to dry at the ReSource Center’s Compost Management Unit at the Tajiguas Landfill. (credit: Lael Wageneck – Santa Barbara County Public Works)