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Compost and Green Organics

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Tempe's Compost Yard is closed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and will remain closed, along with other city facilities during this time.


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, schools and with our residents.  


Local gardeners know that Tempe produces amazing compost from the green organics that residents place out for collection. Now you can get what you need at special introductory prices by driving by our compost yard, 1001 N. Rio Road. What we call our Compost #2 is a chunky mix that is perfect for flower and plant gardens – when mixed with your soil, it helps to retain moisture and keeps soil from compacting. This type has always been and continues to be free for residents; non-residents pay $10 for a pickup truck-size load.

compost 2

What we call our Compost #1 is perfect for lawn application and has a finer texture. It can be mixed with soil and used for potted plants. This compost is now selling for $20 for residents and $30 for non-residents/commercial users for a pickup truck-size load or less. When you pick it up as a resident, we will add the cost to your next utility bill. Non-residents and commercial customers must pay cash.

 compost 1

 Tempe's Compost Yard is closed for the coronavirus (COVID-19) and will remain closed along with other city facilities at this time. 

Tempe's Compost Yard: 1001 N Rio Rd, Tempe, AZ 85281 (West of Tempe Center for the Arts at Rio Salado Parkway and Hardy Ave.) 

Compost #1 – fine. Perfect for lawn applications or can be mixed with soil and used for potted plants. ($20 a pickup-size truck load or less for Residents and $30 for non-residents and commercial.)

Compost #2 – chunky. Perfect for flower and plant gardens. When mixed into your soil, helps to retain moisture and keeps Arizona's hard soil from compacting. ($10 a pickup-size truck load or less for Non-Tempe Residents.) Free for Tempe Residents.

*Prices subject to change.

**Cash only for non-resident and commercial. Tempe residents will have the charge added to your utility bill.

***Tempe residents need to bring a current Tempe utility bill and identification.

Call Tempe 311 at 480-350-4311 for more information. 

Compost Flier.pdf

 compost for sale revised

Green organics drop-offs

Tempe residents can also drop off green organics, including oleander and palm fronds, six days a week (see below for hours).  A current Tempe utility bill and identification are required.

Compost Yard Hours:

Mon. through 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. 


Help Yourself Pile for TEMPE RESIDENTS ONLY: Free compost is available 24/7 just outside of Tempe’s compost yard - located at North Rio Road (near the intersection of Rio Salado Parkway and Hardy Drive). Please bring your own buckets and shovels.

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.

Green organics pilot program 

To see if you're eligible for our green organics pilot program, click here