Committed to composting
Tempe is the first city in the Valley to process its own compost and return it to the community, saving money on disposal costs while conserving valuable landfill space. Most importantly, it closes the recycling loop by putting green waste back where it belongs – in city parks, golf courses, community gardens and schools.
TEMPE RESIDENTS ONLY: Free compost is available 24/7 just outside of Tempe’s compost yard - located at 55 North Rio Road (near the intersection of Rio Salado Parkway and Hardy Drive). Please bring your own buckets and shovels.
Tempe residents can now pick up compost and drop off green organics, including oleander and palm fronds, six days a week (see below for hours). Please call 480-350-4311 to schedule an appointment. A current Tempe utility bill and identification are required. Please bring your own bag, truck or trailer. Staff will be on hand to assist with loading.
Green organics drop-offs and compost pick-ups: new hours
Mon.: by appt. only
Tue. – Sat.: 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Sun. and major holidays: closed
Please remember that all incoming green organics material to the compost facility is to be free of any other material! Only CLEAN GREEN. Mixed loads will not be accepted.
- Green organics are collected during the bulk trash pickups three times a year.
- Green organics curbside bins are available in pilot areas across the city.
- For more information please visit www.tempe.gov/bulktrash.
The process: collect, grind, cook, test
Tempe collects the green organic material from your curb or alley and brings it back to the compost yard where it is stockpiled. Once there is fourteen to fifteen hundred tons of material, a grinder is brought in to break it down to around 3 to 5 inches. This process usually takes around 2 days.
Once grinding is complete, the green waste is placed in giant piles where it cooks for 6 to 9 months. A combination of water, air and heat is needed to break down the material. Tempe staff monitor this process closely, watering the piles when needed and churning the material to stimulate decomposition. That churning, along with a little help from the sun, heats the pile to 160 degrees, which is the optimal cooking temperature for good compost.
Once the material is cooked, it is sent to a lab for testing. Technicians analyze the nutrient content and make sure it is free of weeds and seeds. Once given the ok, the compost is used as topsoil at parks and schools citywide.
Click here for more information about composting and to learn how to make it at home.