15 Places To Get Free Compost (Near Me)

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The idea of starting a compost may seem daunting at first, but the benefits of having a home compost are marvelous. 

Anyone can do it. You don’t need a big yard. You don’t even need a house. All you need is a little space, water and air! 

Having a compost is extremely eco-friendly. Estimates suggest that organic waste makes up about twenty percent of your total waste. 

You are able to repurpose and recycle materials you would have ordinarily thrown away and contribute to the clogging up a landfill. You are also reusing the compost material in order to promote healthy vegetation in your own home. 

Furthermore, by reusing the waste in your compost, you are decreasing the amount of carbon emissions from the garbage truck associated with the transport of that material from your house to the landfill.

What Does Compost Consist Of?

The general rule of thumb of composting is that if it was a plant, then it can be composted. Your at-home compost is a good fertilizing source for your garden. 

Items such as grass clippings, fruit and vegetable kitchen scraps, coffee grounds, crushed egg shells, and tree branches can all be included in your compost. Typically, if the item is going to decompose naturally, it belongs in your compost. 

To begin, take all your materials and grind them up so everything is uniformly only a couple inches in length. Place them all in a composting bin and let it settle over time. 

When done correctly, your compost should not have any stench or foul odor. It should have a natural, earthy smell.  Once the individual items are no longer identifiable, it will be ready for use. 

Sometimes, it might take a while in order to reach this point. If you are eager to get this process started, there are various ways to get free compost near you. 

If you have a quick weekend project to accomplish and want to take advantage of some free compost to fertilize your home garden, there are plenty of options for you to try! 

Where To Get Compost For Free

If you are looking to add some compost to your garden or start a compost, we have a few good picks.

1. Local Municipalities

One of the first places you should check is with your local government or community centers. Most municipalities will promote the act of compositing. As such, they may offer free compositing for local residents. 

Some counties will provide composting bins at no charge to its residents. Or they may have workshops, or certain events during which they will teach you the practice of composting and send you off on your way with some free compost to kick start your new project!

2. Trash and Recycling Facilities

Sometimes all it takes to get free compost is just show up and ask. If you are planning a trip to the dump on one of your decluttering weekends, ask if they have any compost available to take home with you. 

A pro-tip to consider is to ask shortly after Christmastime. Some of these recycling facilities will take the discarded Christmas trees and turn the scraps into free mulch to donate to its residents. 

This would be a great addition to your composting bin. Just make sure to bring your own bags and shovels, as it may be expected of you to scoop the mulch yourself.

 Also be sure to get there early, as it will likely be on a first-come, first-served basis and many people will take advantage of this.

3. LitterLess

LittlerLess is an online resource which attempts to catalog all the different composting locations across the nation. They aim to support small businesses and combat climate change with this information. 

The website is categorized in two different sections: “Where to bulk shop” and “Where to compost.” 

These lists are updated weekly.They even have a section where you can help to update the information with your personal experiences in locating free composting materials. 

The website contains specific information from all 50 states, plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico. Simply click on your state, and browse all the specific information relative to your locale.

4. FreeCycle

The FreeCycle network is a non-profit, grassroots movement aimed at connecting you with other members in your community in order to both give and get stuff for free. 

Membership is free, as the name would suggest. The purpose is to facilitate reusing and recycling materials in an effort to reduce the waste burden in landfills. 

This network currently consists of five thousand local towns and over 10 million members across the globe. 

Their mission is to “build a worldwide sharing movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources & eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community.”

All you need to do is sign up, locate your town, and start searching. Don’t forget to put up some donations on your end too!

5. OfferUp

OfferUp is a wonderful resource to explore if you are looking for free composting material. This website and smartphone application connects you to a community of people looking to buy and sell in your area. 

You can message the sellers privately and without having to disclose your phone number. 

Once you log on, you can search for free mulch, or free compost and you will see a myriad of options to choose from. You will most likely need to arrange for it to be picked up. 

There are some services that may actually deliver it to you for free so be sure to look out for that!

6. CompostNow

CompostNow is a service attempting to make composting easy and clean. Simply discard your food scraps in the containers they will provide you with. 

They will pick it up from you on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. In exchange for your scraps, they will give you compost or share that compost with local gardens or nurseries. 

They will also give you a new container to continue collecting your food scraps and bring in the future.

CompostNow has been active since 2011. According to their statistics, they have diverted over 56 million pounds of food waste, created over 18 million pounds of compost and avoided almost 3 million tons of carbon emissions. 

The compost you get offered in return is free (otherwise it is donated to local farms or gardening centers). 

7. At Home

One of the beautiful things about composting is that you can use literally just about any organic item. You have plenty of things at home that you can use to feed into your compost bin.

 It will definitely take some getting used to though. Building new habits and training yourself to not always run to the garbage can. 

Learn to separate your items, especially while you are cooking, into different piles. If it contains organic material and will naturally decompose, chances are it belongs in your compost. 

After you grind your morning joe, take those coffee grounds and put them in a jar. You crack open a couple eggs for breakfast? Save the eggshells. Did you enjoy an apple? Save the core. 

After just one day of consciously accumulating this organic waste from your kitchen, take the jar and deposit it into your compost bin outside. As simple as that!

8. Landscaping Companies 

Another great, locally-minded idea is to ask landscaping companies to donate some of their debris throughout their day. It will likely be to their benefit to give you some of those items as it will save them time, money and extra labor at the end of their day. 

Or perhaps that is too much for your current needs. When the landscaping company is servicing your yard, simply ask them not to clean up after themselves. 

Have them leave the grass clippings, palm fronds, twigs (or whatever else is left behind) in a pile in your yard and then you can transfer it to your compost bin at a later time. Who knows, they may even offer to put it directly in there for you! 

9. Farms

This may not be a given that you can access free composting materials, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to ask! 

Farms will generally be a haven for organic waste, especially if the farms has animals (horses, chickens, cows, etc.), because manure is a nutrient-rich addition to your compost. Unless the farmer has specific plans for the manure themselves, they will likely be glad for you to take it off their hands.

Keep in mind, there may be unpleasant odors coming from the manure. So be sure to transport it in a container with a lid. When you add it into your compost bin, layer it with leaves and/or cardboard boxes, then mix it together. The odor will dissipate before you know it!

10. Grocery Stores

Did you know that about 30% of the food in grocery stores gets thrown away? This is such a perfect opportunity to get your hands on some potential scraps for your compost pile. 

Most of the big chain grocery locations will have a protocol in place to deal with expiring or rotting produce, so those stores might be difficult to seek a compost donation from. 

If you build a relationship with some of those smaller, locally-owned grocers, you might be able to acquire some compost material. 

You can also try asking those side-of-the-road produce stands! 

11. Holiday Hangover

The day after a holiday, while everyone is still recovering from the festivities of the day before, it is your chance to seize the opportunity at hand!

After Halloween, what are your neighbors going to do with their used Jack-O-Lanterns?

After Thanksgiving, all those leftovers, and the turkey carcass, will make for excellent scraps for your compost.

It might take a little extra effort on your part, and you would definitely need to ask your neighbors for help in this area. But there is plenty of potentially free stuff to be had after these celebrations

12. Autumn

Everyone loves to watch the leaves changing colors until…

…all those leaves start falling. Then you have quite the nuisance and clean-up disaster on your hands. You also have the perfect chance to add more high-quality organic waste to your compost pile. 

Grab a leaf blower and ask your neighbor for their permission. Help them clean up the leaves and then add them to your compost bin at home!

13. Coffee Houses 

Coffee grounds are the perfect addition to your compost. So while you are on your afternoon stroll to the local haunt, ask the owner if they can save the coffee grounds for you to take to your compost pile. 

Most coffee houses also have baked goods and other treats that could be added to your compost as well. 

Back in 1995, Starbucks started an initiative to donate their coffee grounds to their customers on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Known as Grounds for your Garden, this program provides one free bag of used coffee grounds for the purposes of enriching your compost pile. This program is available in all Starbucks locations where local codes allow. 

14. Friends & Family

When it comes to living green, it takes a community effort. If you are looking to add some free organic material to your compost pile, maybe all you need to do is ask those around you. 

It doesn’t have to be a lot. Ask to help clean your in-laws’ backyard. See if your neighbor is willing to drop off some coffee grounds and eggshells. Repurpose some of those delivery cardboard boxes (no tape or glue). 

You will be pleasantly surprised at how much free compost material you will get if you just ask!

15. Facebook Marketplace 

Do a quick search on Facebook Marketplace and you will see a ton of options to acquire free mulch from those around you. If it isn’t free, it is definitely at a discounted price, significantly less than what you would get at your local home improvement or gardening store. 

This option isn’t for everyone, as it usually requires that you go pick it up yourself. It usually is for very large quantities that might be too much for your compost pile, but it would still be a great idea to check out. You might find a steal from here. 


Although composting may sound like a scary idea, it really is very attainable for the majority of people. There are so many options to collect compost depending where you live.

If there aren’t any near you, you can always start your own! Whichever route you choose, composting is always a great option.

free compost