Where and when can I pick up the free loose compost offered by the County?
Sacramento County residents can pick up loose compost at 3843 Branch Center Road, Sacramento, CA 95827. Currently, the County plans to offer compost seasonally, generally from about March through October.
The location is open 24/7, but there may not always be compost available due to high demand. The County works with our organics processors to receive regular deliveries throughout the week, Monday – Friday, and possibly on Saturday. Deliveries generally occur early in the day.
The County hopes to expand this pilot program to additional unincorporated County area locations and will continue to update its Self-Serve Compost webpage for program updates on locations and availability.
Is there a limit to how much free compost I can get?
No. There is no limit to how much compost an individual resident can manually load. Compost is available seasonally and provided on a first come, first serve basis.
Is it possible to get compost loaded by staff into my car/trailer?
No. There are no staff on site to assist with loading.
Can I bring my own tractor to load a trailer, car, etc.?
No. There is no mechanical loading allowed, only manual. Residents must bring their own shovel and containers to load their compost.
I'm not a Sacramento County resident. Can I still pick up free compost?
The County-provided compost is only available to Sacramento County residents.
For information on other compost giveaway programs, visit: City of Folsom's Organics Recycling page
What is in the compost?
The compost is made from organics – food scraps, food-soiled paper, and yard trimmings – that includes organics collected from the County's residential curbside customers as part of the weekly organics collection program.
How do I use compost to ensure the compost doesn't stunt the growth of my garden?
Compost is meant to amend the soil. Too much compost can shock plants. It is recommended that you test the compost on a small section of your garden/area to ensure satisfaction prior to a full application. For more information, visit UC Master Gardeners Sacramento's “Using Compost" section.
Are there any weed seeds in the compost?
Per California composting standards and required US Composting Council (USCC) testing, weeds, weed seeds and pathogens are killed when the compost is kept at 131 degrees in accordance with the corresponding composting process. For more information on testing thresholds, go to CalRecycle's Product Quality and Specifications page for Compost/Mulch.
Are there any pathogens found in the finished compost?
The collected organics material goes to permitted commercial composting facilities to be processed into compost. Each vendor uses a slightly different process (enclosed vessel, windrow, aerated static pile) to create compost for consumer use. However, per CA title 14 requirements, compost is kept at 131 - 151 degrees for 3 to 15 days to kill pathogens in accordance with the corresponding composting process for pathogen reduction.
The US Composting Council (USCC) also requires compost to be tested by an independent certified laboratory before providing the compost to consumers in accordance with TMECC (Test Methods for the Examination of Composting and Compost). The testing data collection includes thresholds for moisture and organic matter content nutrients, pH, soluble salt s, pathogens (fecal coliform/Salmonella), trace heavy metals, and man-made inerts (glass, plastic, etc.). There are no bio-solids or other materials from sewer treatment.
It is recommended that you test any compost on a small section of your garden/area to ensure satisfaction prior to a full application.
If you have questions about per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and other forever chemicals in compost, please visit the US Composting Council's (USCC) PFAS webpage.
If you have questions about herbicides in compost, please visit US Compost Council's (USCC) Herbicide Frequently Asked Questions page.