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Zero Waste
Zero Waste

Home Composting Program

DC Home Composting Program

Home Composting Program

District of Columbia residents can earn a maximum rebate of $75 on a home composting system through the Department of Public Works’ Home Composting Program. The exact amount of the rebate is determined by a sliding-scale. The rebate amount is subject to change on October 1 of each year.

What is Composting?

Composting is a process whereby microbes and fungi break down organic matter into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. It is both a science and art where you need the right mixture of nitrogen (food waste, fresh grass clippings), carbon (leaves, straw), oxygen, and water.

Vermicomposting is where worms consume fruit and vegetable scraps and create high-quality worm castings that can be added to your house plants or garden.  

What are the benefits?

Composting reduces methane emissions and lowers your carbon footprint by diverting organic material from landfills. Using compost in your garden enriches the soil and retains moisture.

What type of composting is best for me?

  • Traditional backyard composting: Typically done in a bin outside, this method relies on natural heat-loving organisms to break down organic waste. It requires you to turn, or stir, the compost a couple times a month to help let in oxygen.
  • Vermicomposting: Worms are used to break down organic waste. This should be done in a bin indoors or in a location with stable temperatures, since worms can die if temperatures get too cold or too hot.

Workshops

Learn to compost at home by attending the Department of Public Works’ Home Composting Program workshops. Workshops will teach you the science of composting, what can be composted at home, how to compost at home, different types of home composting systems, best management practices, and more! District residents who attend a workshop are eligible for a rebate from the District to purchase their own home composting equipment.

Home Composting Program workshops have concluded for 2022. DPW plans to continue this program in 2023. Additional information and workshop dates are forthcoming. For questions about the Home Composting Program, or to be notified when workshops are scheduled, please email [email protected].

Rebate

To qualify for a rebate, you must attend one of the workshops offered through the program, purchase a home composting system (traditional bin, tumbler, or worm) at a store or online, and submit a complete application including receipt of the bin and proof of DC residency. Receipts must be dated after July 17, 2018.

The rebate amount will equal the cost of the system (not including tax and shipping costs) minus $25. The maximum rebate amount is $75.

Rebate Amounts

Home Composting Price Schedule

Rebate applications should only be completed by individuals that have completed a workshop.

Other resources

Home Composting Guide

Home Composting Guide - Spanish

Any person engaging in home composting also has the responsibility to ensure their bin is properly maintained. If you have questions or need troubleshooting tips, please contact DPW’s Office of Waste Diversion by emailing [email protected].