About the Curbside Composting Pilot Program
Starting Summer 2023, the Department of Public Works' Office of Waste Diversion will launch the Curbside Composting Pilot Program, which will provide curbside food waste collection to 12,000 single-family households in the District of Columbia for one (1) year. Interested households must sign up to participate in the Curbside Composting Pilot Program. Up to 1,500 households within each of the city's eight wards will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Sign-Up Period Has Now Closed. Households will be notified via email by June 16, 2023, if they were selected to participate.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible to participate in the Curbside Composting Pilot Program?
If your household currently receives trash and recycling services from the DC Department of Public Works (DPW), then you are eligible to sign-up to participate in the Pilot Program. DPW provides trash and recycling services to residential single-family households residing in buildings with 3 units or fewer.
Commercial properties and households living in multi-family residential buildings with 4 or more units are not eligible.
How do I sign-up?
The sign-up period has now closed.
DPW will review all sign-up forms to confirm the each household’s eligibility to participate in the Curbside Composting Pilot Program. The first 1,500 eligible households to sign up from each ward will be selected to participate in the Pilot Program. Households will be notified via email no later than June 16 if they were selected to participate.
How will I know if my household was selected to participate?
Households will receive a confirmation email from the Department of Public Works’ Office of Waste Diversion via [email protected] notifying them if they were selected to participate. Households will be notified no later than June 16, 2023.
When does collection start?
Curbside collection of food waste will begin in Summer 2023. Once selected, participating households will receive a welcome packet in the mail and an email which will indicate the exact collection start date.
What resources and equipment will I receive if selected to participate?
Participating households will receive a welcome packet in the mail and via email, which will detail best practices for food waste collection and how food waste will be collected. One week prior to the collection start date, the participating households will receive a starter kit which will include one (1) kitchen compost caddy, one (1) curbside collection container, and 100 compostable bin liners (bags).
How long is the Curbside Composting Pilot Program?
Participating households will receive collection of food waste on a once-weekly basis for one calendar year.
What is the purpose of the Curbside Composting Pilot Program?
The Curbside Composting Pilot Program has the following objectives:
- Divert food waste from landfill and incineration
- Provide accessible composting services to residents
- Determine the level of engagement or “set-out” rate of participating households
- Determine the feasibility of expanding curbside food waste collection to all DPW-serviced households
- Distribute finished compost to all participating households to use as a nutrient rich soil amendment
- Evaluate the food waste processing capacity in the region
Will this program attract more rodents?
Rodents are attracted to the smell of food and easy access to it. Currently, households are placing food waste, along with other trash into their trash containers, which do not securely close. Participating households can actually keep rodents out of the trash (and curbside compost container) by moving food scraps into a separate bin with a secure lid that is odor-free when screwed on properly. The containers have also been tested for odor and rodent mitigation. Throughout the Pilot Program year, DPW will be working closely with DC Health to identify any areas of improvement for rodent abatement.
What materials can I put in my curbside compost collection bin?
- Fruit and vegetable scraps and trimmings;
- Cut or dried flowers and houseplants;
- Coffee grounds, loose tea, and paper coffee filters and tea bags;
- Meat, fish, bones, eggs, and dairy;
- Bread, grains, cereals, rice, and pasta;
- Egg shells, nut shells, and corn cobs;
- Nuts, seeds, beans, flour, and spices;
- Food-soiled napkins and paper towels
- Yard wastes of any type (i.e., leaves, branches, woody debris) - click here to schedule a separate yard waste pick up;
- Plastic bags, wraps, or film;
- Fats, oil, and grease;
- Animal waste;
- Biodegradable or compostable food serviceware (i.e., cups, straws, takeout containers, and utensils) and all packaging (biodegradable, compostable, or other);
- Coated or waxed paper or cardboard boxes (i.e., paper bags, plates, bowls, takeout containers);
- Non-compostable materials like plastic, metals, foil, glass, or Styrofoam;
- Inedible kitchen grease, grease from sewer traps, or any liquids;
- Diseased, or insect-infested houseplants, invasive plants, or contaminated soil
For any questions related to the Curbside Composting Pilot Program, please email [email protected].