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Resources & Models – What cities are doing about compost and green waste!

Posted in Models, Movements, Research by fedwards on May 5th, 2008

Below is a list compiled from the Community Food Security email list from a wide variety of contributors about different models outlining what cities are doing are compost and green waste. The final list of all contributions was kindly compiled by Jill Richardson. This is a particularly timely exercise as this week is part of International Compost Awareness Week! You can subscribe to the Community Food Security email list here: To find out more about International Compost Awareness Week visit: If you would like to add what your city is doing about food waste please do so by commenting at the bottom of this post!.

• San Francisco – gave out compost bins
• Oakland – has green waste composting ( collects and composts yard waste and food scraps together in a “Green Cart” recycling program: You can read more about the program and how it applies to food (and suggestions for changes and improvements) here:
• Berkeley – I am fairly certain that it is all run by the Ecology Center here in Berkeley (which handles everything from our farmers markets to the curbside recycling program.) Here’s a page about the relatively new city-wide composting program on the Berkeley city site:
• Santa Cruz
• Mission Viejo
• Woodland
• Davis
• Modesto – has been collecting yard waste separately for many years and composting it. Then recently they’ve started a kitchen compost collection as well and even provided households with a container to keep in their kitchens to collect the compost before bringing it to the yard waste dumpster.

Toronto –
Jasper, Alberta operates a voluntary residential and commercial compost program.

Also, an entry at The Slow Cook tells of municipal compost in DC:


Cambridge, (and Somerville) MA doesn’t collect it from residents but has a pilot program where they give out bins and people can drop it off at the recycling center.

Ann Arbor, MI collects yard waste, but not food. The huge composting facility is open to anyone and you can go pick up free compost (byo container). It is a particularly great resource for the community gardens… who I think have connections with the City so they get the compost delivered.

The city is working on developing a commercial/restaurant food waste recycling program.

Duluth – collects institutional/retail food waste

Omaha has a big program and sells its product as “Omagro”
Check out their web site at

New York
In New York City, the Lower East Side Ecology Center operates the Manhattan branch of the “NYC Compost Project” for the New York City Department of Sanitation. The purpose of the NYC Compost Project is to “encourage residential and institutional composting” via voluntary composting and educational out-reach.
Here are links to the LESEC’s Composting Project and to the NYC Compost Project:

The NYC Compost Project collects organic matter people save up from their homes. In Manhattan, the LESEC’s project organizer has a table at Union Square Greenmarket everyday the market is open (Mon, Wed., Fri. and Sat.). The table is set up with educational information on composting, giant Tupperware bins into which people deposit their saved-up organic matter, and soil for sale.

Anecdotally, I have been dropping off my vegetable and fruit remnants at the NYC Compost Project’s Greenmarket table for over 2 years. As a student I found myself with not enough time (and perhaps rotting vegetables) to manage my own compost bin or to cook all of the produce I purchased weekly. Bringing the vegetables, fruit, grain, etc…that I didn’t eat to the Project’s bins helped me to understand how much produce I was wasting each week and to change my shopping habits to buy only as much produce as I will cook that week. What has resulted is that I waste less so I end up having less to donate to the Project.

Contact Metro in Portland. They are a regional government agency with an information hotline at 503-234-3000. They have tons of compost information and can answer questions regarding this regions management of compostable materials.

Salt Lake City – The city recently started offering containers for residents to deposit yard waste, they are picked up just like garbage & recycling.


Seattle has an amazing program through Seattle Public Utilities, see link
Bellingham –

'The Ingredients of Compost' by dkhlucy

One Response to “Resources & Models – What cities are doing about compost and green waste!”

  1. Pamela Says:

    September 6th, 2008 at 2:34 am

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