Composting is the managed and faster natural breakdown (decomposition) process of select organic waste you can do at home to reduce waste. Microorganisms break down select materials into compost with the presence of carbon, nitrogen, air, and water.

Composting Pie Chart



What to Compost?

While many products are labeled as 'compostable', they may not be suitable for this composting process and will not break down. Only place the listed materials in your bin for backyard composting.


(Carbon Rich - Energy Source)
(Nitrogen Rich - Protein Source)
Dry leaves, straw, hay Vegetable scraps
Paper coffee filters Fruit peels/rings (minimal citrus)
Shrub pruning Coffee grounds
Pine needles/cones Tea grounds/leaves
Chopped twigs/branches Soft pruning
Wood ash House plants
Shredded newspaper Spent flowers
Shredded uncoated paper and cardboard Hair
Egg cartons (cardboard) Feathers
Sawdust (untreated wood) Fur
Brown paper bags (shredded) Nut shells (except walnuts)
Crushed egg shells Weeds without mature seeds (non-invasive)
Paper towel and toilet paper rolls Manure (herbivore waste)
Gerbil, hamster, guinea pig, and rabbit bedding Hops


Items to Avoid

Meat or bones Weeds with mature seeds Diseased or insect-ridden plants
Eggs Treated or painted wood Grass clippings
Dairy products Particle board Used kitty litter
Grease, fat, oil, lard Plants treated with pesticides Grass clippings
Glossy/coated paper Coal or charcoal ash Metal, glass, plastic

Composting Sites and Community Gardens

Find a site near you to drop-off your compostable material, or your finished compost.

Backyard Composting Program

You can begin composting at home on your own or if you live within the Solid Waste service area*, you’re eligible to receive a free backyard bin to participate in the Backyard Composting Program**. (An education partnership with the Water Department and UF/IFAS Extension office)

This program provides free backyard composting bins for single-family homes. Being a part of the solid waste process, individuals will get the chance to learn and start composting as they recycle their organic waste. This program is only available to City of Tampa residents serviced by the Department of Solid Waste & Environmental Program Management, which does not include New Tampa.

*Please verify that you live within the service area before registering for the program workshop using the link below. If your service says "trash pick-up outside Tampa," you are not eligible.

My Tampa Services

**To register for a mandatory virtual composting workshop and receive a free backyard composting bin please visit:


Once each workshop has reached capacity, it will be CLOSED. While there is no waitlist, more classes will be available throughout the year. Stay tuned on our social media channels or sign up to be notified of webpage changes at the bottom of this page.



City of Tampa Logo

IFAS Extension by the University of Florida



Completion of mandatory compost workshop is required before completing the waiver below. Filling out the waiver without completing the class does not guarantee your participation in the program. Please do not fill out waiver before completing the workshop.