Where Can You Dump Your Compost When Camping?

There are a few things that are indisputably important when camping. For one, always make sure to pack plenty of food and water. And for two, don’t forget about taking care of your business by finding a place to dump any compost you create! But where?

If you’ve been composting for a while, you may be tempted to just toss your material into the garbage and not deal with it. But don’t! Compostable materials are recyclable, so they should never reach any landfill.

Instead, in cities and towns without composting facilities (or if your organic waste can’t go in curbside organics), it is usually best to give it away or take it to a drop-off location.

Where Do You Dump Your Compost When Camping?

If you’re headed for an outdoor adventure, however, you might not have much of a choice. Most parks and campgrounds lack facilities for composting or recycling organic waste, so the best thing to do is look for a natural spot where you can bury your material:

  • Don’t plan on burying anything at all in Yellowstone National Park or any other national park. While composting isn’t illegal there are still plenty of restrictions on what you can do with your organic waste.
  • Dump it in designated areas such as National Trails System, U.S. Forest Service, U.S Forest Service (if it doesn’t belong to the U.S.), or BLM land.
  • Do not use city parks as composting sites in cities that do not provide a citywide composting program, including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City and Santa Monica, CA.
  • While there are plenty of great places to compost when camping, not all states allow it on public lands. Check with your state parks department for details about where to compost.

Why You Should Never Dump Your Compost in the Campground’s Trash Dumpsters?

Nobody wants to see their food scraps and kitchen waste sitting in a landfill collecting bugs and bacteria in perpetuity, damaging local ecosystems and polluting air and water.

That’s why many states have programs that encourage or require citizens to compost. But for many campers there’s the question of where to put it when they’re not home.

When you head to the campground for the weekend, you have more than just family and friends to think about. You also have to think about other campers as well.

Some states have adopted laws that make it illegal to put food scraps in their landfills. But not all states have those laws in place yet. So for now, there are still many landfills where food is still ending up and going into the trash dumpsters at campgrounds.

If you dump your food scraps in a trash can when you’re camping, they may end up in the landfill. The waste will never turn into compost. The landfills won’t have any desire to stop taking your waste, and there will be no programs in place to enforce the law.

In addition, without any protections for composting at campgrounds, businesses may not want to invest in composting facilities or educational programs for their customers because they’re concerned about the potential costs of taking full responsibility for their organic waste.


Many states have adopted some type of policy that prohibits food scraps in landfills and encourages citizens to work towards composting instead.

Unfortunately, not all states have made these policy changes yet, which means the waste from your weekend getaway may still end up in the landfill.

If you’re tired of throwing your organic waste in the trash and would rather compost it yourself or give it away than send it to a landfill you should take action by contacting your government officials and encourage them to make a change.

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