The County of Kauaʻi provides FREE backyard composting bins to Kauaʻi residents!  

Come pick up a free Earth Machine home composting bin.

Available at the Kauai Resource Center located at 3460 Ahukini Rd. in Lihue, near the airport, in front of the Lihue Refuse Transfer Station

Composting bins are available for pick-up on Fridays from from 8 am - 3:30 pm. No appointment necessary  

You are required to watch a brief 10 minutes training video to teach you the basics of composting.   You do not need a special vehicle to transport your bin. The bin breaks down into two parts that nests inside itself. 

We also have regional Satellite Compost Bin Distribution centers.  YOU MUST CALL OR EMAIL PRIOR TO VISITING:


Kekaha Community Garden (currently out of stock)

4552 Auku'u Road on the grounds of St. Paul's Episcopal Church 

Email: · Phone: 635 – 6145


Malama Kauai 

location instructions

Email: Phone: 828-0685 extension 18


Composting is a natural form of recycling fruit and vegetable scraps and green/yard waste into a rich soil amendment.  Use the free County of Kaua'i compost bin or purchase composting bins locally at Home Depot, Ace Hardware or Costco.

Home Composting

What to Compost:
Fruits and Vegetables scraps, Eggshells, Coffee grounds and filters, Tea bags, Nut shells, Shredded paper, and Cardboard (toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, paper egg cartons), Yard Waste, Houseplants, Hay and Straw, Leaves, Sawdust, Wood chips, Cotton, Linen, Wool Rags, Dryer and Vacuum Cleaner Lint, Hair and Fur, Fireplace ashes, Chopsticks, toothpicks, Popsicle sticks, Manure from Chickens, Goats, Cattle.

What Not to Compost and Why:
Black walnut tree leaves or twigs
- Releases substances that might be harmful to plants

Coal or charcoal ash
- Might contain substances harmful to plants
Dairy products (e.g., butter, milk, sour cream, yogurt)
- Creates odor problems and attracts pests such as rodents and flies
Diseased or insect-ridden plants
- Diseases or insects might survive composting and maybe transferred back to other plants
Fats, oils and grease (FOG)
- Creates odor problems and attracts pests such as rodents and flies
Meat, Fish, Bones, Whole Eggs, Shrimp and Clam shells
- Creates odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
Pet wastes (dog or cat feces, used Kitty litter)
- Might contain parasites, bacteria, germs, pathogens, and viruses harmful to humans
Cut Grass/Lawn Clippings. Try Grasscycling or compost using the Heap Method instead
- Grass will takes up a lot of space in your compost bin

Download the Earth Machine manual.

For "FAST" Backyard Composting

Vary the materials, in order to provide a balanced food supply for microorganisms. 2/3 brown and 1/3 green. Remember to tend your pile and keep track of what you throw in. A properly managed compost bin will not attract pests or rodents and will not smell bad.

Mix all materials thoroughly instead of making layers.

Make scratches and cuts in stems and leaves, and chop up fruit and veggies to provide entry for microorganisms. Size matters because earthworms, fungi and bacteria do not have teeth.

Turn frequently for air flow. Aerating the pile allows decomposition to occur at a faster rate than anaerobic (without oxygen) conditions.

Maintain ample moisture. Pile should be as wet as a kitchen sponge.


Possible Causes
Rotten Odor
Excess Moisture or Anaerobic (without oxygen) Condition.
Turn pile, add Browns: dry leaves, sawdust, wood chips, straw, cardboard.
Ammonia Odor
Too many Greens.
Add Browns such as dry leaves, sawdust, wood chips, straw, or shredded paper or cardboard.
Low Temperature
Needs Air or Greens or Water
Add Greens, turn pile and add some water.
Presence of Meat, Eggs, Fish or Fats, Oil, Grease or Dairy products in pile.
Remove these rich-smelling foods from pile.Add a scoop of soil, some Browns and turn pile to increase temperature.
Needs water
Add water, bin contents need to be as moist as a kitchen sponge.

It's easy to compost in your own backyard using do-it-yourself techniques like constructing hoop wire bins or making wood pallet bins, using the (pit) burial method or composting in heaps.

Heap method - build a “heap” (pile) of Green Waste. The "heap" needs to be a minimum of 3' tall x 3' deep x 3' wide or maximum 6 'tall x 6' deep x 6' wide, to generate heat and decompose. Water the heap (pile) using a hose, and cover with a tarp. The "heap" will then decompose on its own.

How to Build a Compost Bin out of Pallets

  1. Level the ground where your bin will be.
  2. Set the pallets upright in a box shape.
  3. Lash the pallets securely together at the corners with wire or rope ties.
  4. Or use a pallet for the bottom.  Pound in place metal support poles (rebar), on all four sides of bottom pallet. Slip pallets over rebar to function as side-walls.

How to turn your old garbage can into a backyard Composting Station

  1. In the location you wish to dedicated as you composting area, dig a hole approximately one foot deep with a similar diameter as your old garbage can.
  2. With a saw or similar tool, cut off the bottom of your old plastic garbage can. The top half of the can , along with the lid, will be the end that you will use. Drill about twenty small holes around the side of the bin to allow for draining and aeration (air flow).
  3. With the lid intact, take the top end of the garbage can and place it inside of the hole. The fit does not have to be perfect, but the tighter the seal, the better to allow stability.
  4. You are now ready to start adding your yard waste and vegetarian kitchen to your backyard composting station. For quick results, make sure your materials are moist but not drenched. Mix up materials every other day for aeration to compost. If proper attention is paid to your personal composting station, you should have usable compost within 12 weeks.

Consider Grasscycling

Grasscycling means leaving your clippings on the lawn to break down and feed the soil. Studies show that grasscycling:

  • Doesn't cause thatch.
  • Improves lawn rooting depth, drought and disease resistance.
  • Provides free fertilizer.
  • Save Time and Money When You Mulch. Save money on water bills and fertilizer, and save the time it takes to bag and transport Green Waste to Transfer Station or Landfill.

Grasscycling Tips
Leave the bag off your mower, and let the clippings drop – earthworms will recycle them!
Mow when the grass is dry, and keep mower blades sharp.
Raise mowing heights or mow more frequently during fast growth.
Water and fertilize less – save money, when you grasscycle!
Shopping for a new mower? Choose a "mulching" mower.

Other insights from around the web
Home Advisor on Composting and Landscaping (Submitted by: Brownie Troop 1439 from Washington State)


Composting Video

Composting with Worms!

Looking to start a Worm Bin and try Verminicompost (composting with worms)? 

Training on how to vermicompost, worm composting kits, and local worms can are available through Wiki Wiki Worm Ranch
Contact: Ned Selfe, Head Wormologist
Phone: (808) 639-2016

Contact: Brad Carter, Worm Wrangler
Phone: (808) 639-6473

Or see:

Contact: Randy Murch
Phone: (808) 635-6027