New North Shore Distribution Sites

ʻĀina Ho’okupu o Kīlauea (AHK) located across the street from Kaua‘i Christian Academy and The Hanalei Initiative (THI) at the Hanalei Center above Bar Acuda are graciously partnering with the County to distribute County Earth Machine home compost bins. Bins will be available from the AHK on Monday and Wednesday from 10 AM to 2 PM and THI Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 10 AM.

For questions related to the ʻĀina Ho’okupu o Kīlauea please contact  

For The Hanalei Initiative

This program is Courtesy of the County of Kaua‘i Solid Waste Division. This is a residential program only. Bins are not available for commercial use. Residents are required to watch the short 8-minute training video below before picking up their bins. 





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

Available by appointment only at the Kauaʻi Resource Center located at 3460 Ahukini Rd. in Līhu‘e, near the airport, in front of the Līhu‘e Refuse Transfer Station.

To schedule a pick-up for a compost bin, please email with the date and time you'd like to pick-up your bin. Bins will be available Monday-Friday from 8:00 AM to 3:30 PM. This location is closed on County Holidays.  If you are unable to email, please call the County Recycling Office at 241-4841. We ask that requests be made at least 24 hours in advance. 

Please view the "County Composting" video below.  You do not need a special vehicle to transport your bin. The bin breaks down into two parts that nests inside itself. 



Composting is a natural form of recycling fruit and vegetable scraps and green/yard waste into a rich soil amendment, but why compost?

This short informational video produced in 2017 for compost awareness week discusses why composting is so important.

(this is not the instructional video provided by the County, see above)

And while Kaua‘i does not have a green bin program, we do have free County of Kaua‘i Earth Machine compost bins or you can purchase your own locally at Home Depot, Ace Hardware, or Costco.


Home Composting

What to Compost:

1/3 Nitrogen (examples)-
Fruits and Vegetables scraps, Coffee Grounds and Filters, Green Yard Waste, Green Houseplants, Hair and Fur, Manure from Chickens, Goats, Cattle.

2/3 Carbon (examples)-
Eggshells, Tea bags, Nut shells, Shredded paper, and Cardboard (toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, paper egg cartons), Brown Yard Waste, Dried Out Houseplants, Hay and Straw, Dry Leaves, Sawdust, Wood chips, Cotton, Linen, Wool Rags, Dryer and Vacuum Cleaner Lint, Fireplace (wood) ashes, Chopsticks, toothpicks, Popsicle sticks.


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 waste (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 content needs 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 designate for your 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, stability will be improved.
  4. You are now ready to start adding your yard waste and vegetarian kitchen scraps 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.


Indoor and Outdoor Composting with Worms!

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

Worm bins work great for indoor composting systems for those that don't have access to a yard for an outdoor composting bin.

Training on how to vermicompost, worm composting kits, and local worms are available through the businesses below.

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