Organics collection

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Plastic bag ban now in effect
Ordinances have started in Lacey, Olympia, Tumwater, and unincorporated Thurston County banning plastic carryout bags.
Learn more about these ordinances.

Got extra food? Learn about donating your business's extra food to the Thurston County Food Bank.

two hands holding compostDon’t let your grass clippings, branches, and food scraps go to waste! Instead, turn them into a valuable resource by signing up for a collection service or by utilizing one of the other options to reduce organic waste listed below. You’ll keep these materials out of the landfill and save money on your garbage service too.

Garbage, recycling, and organics are collected in Thurston County by the City of Olympia and LeMay. For information on organics collection services, including what you can put in your organics bin or cart, click on the links below or contact your hauler directly.

City of Olympia service areas

LeMay service areas

Buying compostable products

It is extremely important that you use only compostable products that are acceptable in our organics programs. Unfortunately, not all items labeled "compostable" or "biodegradable” really compost.

Compostable bags are available from Glad (in 13-gallon size) and Bio Bags (several sizes). Both brands are accepted as part of our program and are sold at many local grocery stores, retail outlets, and on-line.

Wooden serviceware and uncoated, non-shiny paper products compost more easily and more quickly than compostable plastic products or paper products lined with a compostable plastic film. Vendors that offer a line of compostable wooden serviceware include Bambu, Aspenware, EcoWare, Leafware, and Birchware.

Other compostable products including larger compostable bags and compostable serviceware are available through many on-line retail outlets. Locally, some of these products can be found at the Ralph’s and Bayview Thriftway stores and at the Olympia Cash & Carry. If you know of other local businesses that carry compostable products, please send us a note.

Before purchasing a product that’s marketed as “compostable,” or “biodegradable,” make sure it’s something that’s accepted by checking our complete list of acceptable compostable products. If you would like assistance in choosing compostable products, please contact Peter Guttchen at 360-867-2283 or

Choose reusables over disposable or compostable products

If possible, use durable products like washable utensils, cups, and plates to prevent waste. Check out our waste-free events page.

Other waste reduction options for organics

Take your yard waste to the Waste and Recovery Center or visit the WhereDoITakeMy? database to find other yard waste drop-off locations. No self-hauled food or food-soiled paper is accepted at the WARC. Organics that are self-hauled to the WARC are taken to the woody debris area where food and food-soiled paper can attract vermin and birds and cause serious odor problems. Food and food-soiled papers can be collected in the curbside organics program because they are processed quickly in a different area. See the top of this page for more information on organics collection services.

Please note: Noxious weeds should not be included in your yard waste; you must pay to dispose of them as garbage. Certain noxious weeds qualify for free disposal. Please contact Thurston County Noxious Weed Control Agency for more information about noxious weeds.

Start your own backyard compost pile.

Practice GrassCycling, a simple, natural way of recycling grass and returning water and nutrients to the soil.

Find out how to keep your food – and money – out of the trash at

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