Compost FAQ

Curb It Compost

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

I have a backyard compost pile. Why would I need a compost cart? Is it better to use my compost cart or to keep composting at home?

We absolutely encourage backyard and community composting of yard waste and food scraps. While Boise’s compost program helps divert organic waste from the landfill where it produces greenhouse gases like methane, it still requires a lot of energy to move material from your house to the compost facility. If you’re a backyard composter, we suggest that you utilize your green cart for materials like woody debris, weeds, and other stocky materials that are challenging to compost at home.

Can I place weeds and weed seeds in my compost cart? I’ve heard weeds should never go in my backyard compost pile.

Boise’s compost facility is an industrial scale facility. During the composting process, organic material reaches temperatures that significantly reduce the viability of seeds and pathogens. In general, never put a plant or seed that you don’t want to see again in a backyard compost pile, but feel free to put those weeds and seeds in your curbside cart to be put to good use!

Why can't I put animal products in my compost? Other cities allow it.

While animal products can break down in the composting process, our compost facility does not accept these products. Animal products are much more odorous (smelly) than yard waste and kitchen scraps and are also more likely to transport pathogens such as salmonella or other bacteria. Since compost carts are only picked up weekly, sometimes material sits in carts for up to a week before being picked up. Trust us, you don’t want your neighbors putting animal products in their bin. Clean compost carts make good neighbors.

Can I place compostable bags, silverware, cups, or plates into my compost cart?

The Curb It compost program does not accept any compostable or biodegradable tableware products. While these products are helpful in the commercial food setting, it’s difficult for compost facility staff to tell which products are compostable versus plastic.

A few tips to reduce contamination of compostable products:

  • When reusable tableware is not an option, consider purchasing products which can be placed into your orange Hefty® ReNew™ bag (#4-7 plastics) after use. This includes most plastic cutlery.
  • If you need to contain your kitchen food scraps, use an unlined paper bag from the grocery store. This can be placed into your green cart when full.

I have more leaves, branches or other compostable materials than can fit in my compost cart this week. What do I do? Do I need an overflow sticker?

Extra leaves or yard waste materials can be placed in paper leaf bags. Extra branches or tree limbs may be cut to lengths under 4 feet long and tied into bundles under 60 pounds with natural fiber twine (no plastic twine or string, please.) Up to ten bags OR bundles will be collected each week, year-round, and at no cost. No overflow stickers are needed!

During the fall, leaf collection is limited to 10 bags per week. If you have extra bags, Curb It offers leaf collection sites for residents who prefer to dispose of all leaves immediately.

drop-off locations

A windstorm just took out some giant branches in my yard, what do I do?

If the tree was a street tree growing on the opposite side of your sidewalk from your house, you can contact Community Forestry for assistance.

If the tree is in your yard, please break down fallen branches and place what will fit into your green compost cart. Extra material may be cut to lengths of under 4 feet long and tied into bundles under 60 pounds with natural fiber twine (no plastic twine or string, please.) Up to ten bags OR bundles will be collected each week, year-round, and at no cost. No overflow stickers are needed!

My compost cart has developed an odor. What can I do to clean it?  

Watch the video for a quick tutorial on how to keep your compost cart clean.

 A few simple tips to keep your compost cart clean and reduce potential odors: 

  • Set your cart out for collection every week, even when it's only partially full.
  • Line the bottom of your cart with newspaper, cardboard, or a torn open paper grocery bag to keep compostable materials from sticking.
  • Store your cart in cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.
  • Place kitchen scraps in layers between grass, leaves or other garden material.
  • Use paper bags (not plastic, biodegradable, or compostable) to keep kitchen scraps contained.

How do I know this is safe to use in my vegetable garden and isn't full of herbicides, pesticides, and bacteria?

Our composting process takes over four months and Curb It compost reaches temperatures over 160 degrees Fahrenheit. These high temperatures break down compounds such as herbicides and pesticides, significantly reduce the viability of pathogens and weed seeds, and stabilize the carbon such that it is beneficial to plant growth.

Curb It Compost is certified through the US Composting Council’s “Seal of Testing Assurance” or STA program. STA certified compost is regularly tested for pathogens, heavy metals, and nutrients to make sure finished compost is safe to put in your garden and ready to nurture your plants.


Our compost IS full of bacteria – lots and lots of beneficial bacteria and other microorganisms - and we’re proud of it! Compost is a biologically active soil amendment, and all those active microorganisms will help you build healthy soils in your yard, garden, or planting beds.

Can I use this compost like potting soil to fill planters and pots?

You can fill them, but we sure wouldn’t recommend adding plants! Compost is made from nearly all organic material and does not contain the silt, clay, or sand particles that plants need to take root and thrive. Rather, compost is a biologically active soil amendment that can help nutrient depleted or inorganic soils to become healthy again. You can use compost as an amendment to revive your used potting soils for another season!

Still Have Questions?

For more information, please contact us.

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