“District residents can now drop off food waste to be composted at designated Farmers Markets”

by Prince Of Petworth April 25, 2017 at 10:00 am 11 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user quemac

I’ve been getting lots of emails about this new program – thanks to all who sent from DPW:

“District residents can now drop off food waste to be composted at designated Farmers Markets, one in each of the District’s eight wards, free of charge on Saturdays. The food waste will be taken to a local composting facility where it will be turned into compost, a soil amendment. Come visit us at one of our farmers market locations and ask our compost experts for more information!

courtesy DPW

Where Can I Participate?

There will be a total of eight food waste drop-off locations with one site in each ward. The program will be established at a Saturday farmers market.


Ed. Note: Parkside-Keniloworth in Ward 7 is now May 20th!

Complete List of Items Accepted in the Food Waste Drop-Off Program


How to Bring Your Food Waste to the Market

Acceptable food scraps and organic materials can be collected in covered plastic containers, paper or plastic bags. Please keep in mind that plastic bags are NOT recyclable and ends up in the trash. We recommend rinsing plastic containers holding the food waste within each use and lining the bottom with shredded newspapers for odor control. Another tip in controlling odors over the week is to consider storing your food scraps contained in either a sealed bag or plastic container in the freezer or refrigerator.

Can Businesses Drop-off Materials to Compost?

No. Commercial food scraps are not accepted as the program is available strictly to District residents. Businesses should contact a local hauler who can handle commercial organic waste.

How Else Can I Get Involved in Composting?

The Department of Parks and Recreations has a Community Compost Cooperative Network where residents can receive an hour long training and participate in the community compost program. For more information please visit (https://dpr.dc.gov/service/community-compost-cooperative-network).”

  • samanda_bynes

    the picture here could be Throbbing Gristle cover art

    • KenyonDweller

      Now I must listen to Throbbing Gristle.

  • elbeech

    This is awesome! Yay DC!

  • iwdc

    SO excited about this! The list of accepted items leaves something to be desired (no meat, dairy, or even paper!?), but it feels like a big step toward the dream of residential three stream waste collection!

  • nevermindtheend

    You can also check to see if there’s a community compost cooperative near you. Those let you bring your own “browns,” including things like newspaper. https://dpr.dc.gov/service/community-compost-cooperative-network

    The type of composting the District does just doesn’t allow for meat or dairy.

  • jcm

    It’s a nice start, but I wish the city would start an actual municipal composting program, with curbside pickup of all biodegradables. My understanding is that they’re not even considering it, which is a shame. DPR has done a nice job with the compost coop program though.

    • Liz

      Why aren’t they considering it?

  • anon

    I’d love to have a garden and compost and use it in my garden – but as a condo dweller with no outdoor space – can someone tell me what the incentive for me to do this would be? Not being snarky, just really curious. I get the incentive to recycle, so non-biodegradable stuff doesn’t go in the landfill, and recycle everything I can, but what’s the purpose with small household biodegradable stuff?

    • Erin

      Honestly, because it makes your house stink less (if you have a proper countertop compost container)! When we moved 2 years ago, we lost the ability to compost because there wasn’t a location nearby to take it to. In the 2 years prior that we’d been composting, we forgot how HORRIBLE trash smells with old banana peels/onion skins/egg shells/coffee grounds/etc. So if nothing else – it makes your house smell better all the time, not only right after you take out the trash.

    • iwdc

      I see it as the exact same reason you recycle. The only items you want to end up at landfills are items which have no ability to be reused. Just like recycling, biodegradable waste has no business taking up space at a landfill when it could easily be turned into compost. And that frees up space at the landfill, which saves costs. AND, even more importantly, compostables in landfills give off greenhouse gases when they rot in the landfill. AND composting is way cheaper and easier than recycling.

    • emilysquirrely

      Composting is important for the climate because anaerobic decay, such as what happens in an landfill when biodegradable waste is buried with everything else, creates methane which is a greenhouse gas 23 times more potent than CO2, which results when biodegradeable waste is composted and exposed to oxygen instead. Plus saves space in landfills, plus creates a useful output, plus keeps important nutrients in the food cycle instead of one way to the dump, etc.


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