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Some food scraps can be composted right in the backyard.

Worm composting with a bin

Worms turn kitchen scraps into high-quality compost for your garden. Worm compost, also called vermicompost is rich, so you can use less than regular compost. Buy a worm bin locally at some nurseries and garden centers, or make your own out of a large plastic tub from local sources of worms and worm composting supplies.

To make a worm bin:

  1. Buy a tub with tight-fitting lid.
  2. Make small air holes in the sides using an ice pick or small drill.
  3. Drill holes in the bottom for drainage.
  4. Add shredded newspaper, kitchen scraps, and worms.
  5. Learn how to manage your worm bin kitchen waste Download PDF 133 K

Bury your kitchen food scraps

Vegetable food scraps (no meat, bones or dairy) from the kitchen should not be put in your backyard compost bin. Instead, kitchen scraps can be composted in a worm bin or by burying in ornamental garden beds.

To bury food scraps:

  1. Dig a hole about 1 foot deep.
  2. Put three to four inches of vegetable food scraps at the bottom of hole.
  3. Use a shovel to chop and mix the wastes into the soil at the bottom. (no meat, bones or dairy!)
  4. Cover the waste with at least eight inches of soil to keep rodents and pets from digging it up.

Good for Kitchen Compost

  • Vegetable scraps
  • Grains and pasta
  • Fruit rinds and peels
  • Breads and cereals
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Tea bags
  • Egg shells
  • Paper napkins

Not Good for Kitchen Compost

  • Meat
  • Fish and poultry
  • Cheese
  • Oily foods
  • Butter
  • Other animal products

What about using my garbage disposal for food waste disposal?

In-sink garbage disposals should only be used for certain types of food waste and liquids from food preparation. Learn more about keeping fats, oils and grease out of the garbage disposal and sewer system. If you're going to use a garbage disposal, take the time to learn more about how to conserve water.

Questions about kitchen waste composting and natural yard care? Contact The Garden Hotline at 206-633-0224 or

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King County Solid Waste Division mission: Waste Prevention, Resource Recovery, Waste Disposal