Composting & Vermiposting

Green waste accounts for approximately 25% of the refuse being hauled to our landfills each week. Unlike a lot of the items we must discard, green waste can easily be converted into a valuable soil amendment for your garden, resulting in more productive vegetables or flowers for your enjoyment. This conversion is known as “composting”... “recycling” your green waste.

Composting occurs in nature as vegetation falls to the ground and slowly decays. This process provides minerals and nutrients needed by soil, plants and small animals. Setting up a composting system in your backyard speeds up this natural process. Organic materials like fruits, vegetables, and yard waste are collected and then decomposed with the help of oxygen and water.

The resulting material is called humus, an important component of healthy soil. The humus that results from composting adds nutrients to the soil that can increase the health of your plants and help save money ordinarily spent on fertilizers.

Vermiposting is simply using worms to compost food scraps. The best kind of worms to use is Eisenia Fetida (a.k.a "red wigglers"). These worms are incredible garbage eaters! They eat and expel their own weight every day, so even a small bin of red worms will produce many kilograms of sweet-smelling, all organic, chemical-free fertilizer to mix into potting soil or garden mulch. These worms can be easily obtained by ordering online from private companies. Search online by using the term “red wiggler vermipost”.

Backyard compost bins
Backyard compost bins are made available by the City for Long Beach residents to purchase at a reduced price. There are currently three types of backyard bins available. For composting yard waste: the Presto Composter, Earth Machine, and Soil Saver. For vermiposting: the Wriggly Ranch.

Composting Doís and Doníts

Stirring and lightly watering the content of your compost bin speeds up the compost process. It’s not necessary, but it will yield results sooner if you do.

DO compost:

  • Grass and plant trimmings
  • Fruit and vegetable scraps
  • Egg shells
  • Wood chips, sawdust and ashes
  • Straw and hay
  • Shredded paper
  • Manure from herbivores (e.g. horse, rabbit, chickens and other animals) that only eat plants
DO NOT compost:
  • Meat scraps and bones
  • Dairy products
  • Plastics or synthetic fibers
  • Diseased vegetation
  • Plants that have been treated with
  • Herbicides
  • Palm fronds
  • Charcoal or ashes from treated wood
  • Manure from carnivores (meat eating animals)
Vermiposting Do’s and Don’ts

Keep your vermipost bin outdoors in a shady spot. Keep it close to a back door to make access more convenient. Check your worms to make sure their home is not too wet or dry. You can add shredded newspaper to help soak up excess moisture. Worms will eventually eat newsprint too.

DO vermipost:

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps
  • Egg shells
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Tea bags
DO NOT vermipost:
  • Onions or garlic
  • Dairy products
  • Oily products
  • Meat or poultry
  • Nut shells
  • Grass and plant trimmings


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 Composting workshops

Learn to compost!

On the 3rd Saturday of every month, the City of Long Beach Environmental Services Bureau hosts a FREE workshop to teach residents to compost, grasscycle and vermicompost. Learn to recycle lawn and yard trimmings into a valuable soil amendment for your garden or landscaping, or have worms turn your food scraps into a rich fertilizer.

Workshops are held at 2929 East Willow Street in Long Beach from 10:30am-12:30pm. To enroll in the next class, call (562) 570-4694 or submit this form. Map and more information Here

Composting: Myth vs Fact
Myth: Compost creates odors and attracts pests.
Fact: Properly building and maintaining compost using organic waste, almost never attracts pests and will smell like a humus-rich forest.
Myth: Compost is unsightly.
Fact: Attractive, low-cost compost enclosures can be built or purchased.
Myth: Composting requires a lot of work.
Fact: Compost is a natural process. Basically, the elements of nature does the work. You can turn the material once a week or once a month. Compost just happens!
Environmental Services Bureau
Winner Nation’s Best Solid Waste Management Program Award