Organic materials make up the bulk of Americas discarded municipal solid waste (MSW). In 1996, organic materials accounted for 141 million tons (67 percent) of the waste stream. Some organic materials, such as newspaper, office paper, and corrugated, have a high recovery rate. Other organic materials (e.g., yard trimmings, food scraps, and certain grades of paper), however, still tend to be landfilled and represent an area with high growth potential for recovery (75 million tons). Depending on the type of waste and method of composting selected, average national savings over conventional disposal vary from $9 to $37 per ton for 62 million tons of the MSW stream. This report describes seven composting strategies for organic materials in the U.S. MSW stream and presents an analysis of the benefits and costs of each strategy, the potential for diverting organic materials from landfills or waste-to-energy facilities, and the potential markets for diverted organic materials. This report is organized into five sections: (1) an overview of organic materials in the national waste stream, (2) estimates of avoided collection and disposal costs attributed to diversion of organic materials, (3) descriptions of the organic materials management strategies, (4) a review of compost markets and end-uses, and (5) a summary and comparison of the net costs of each composting strategy.