Curb to Compost

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Food Scrap/Yard Debris Program Check List

Bulleted “checklist” of the elements that a city needs to include in a program; please note, this list is taking a 20,000 foot level approach; this is not a recipe for a program but, rather, an ingredients list.

Elements of a successful food scrap-yard debris program

The Basics

Collect Yard/Food scrap weekly (to reduce chance of pests and odors).

Consider collecting MSW bi-weekly (to encourage diversion).
Offer a kitchen container to collect food scraps.
Allow compostable bags to reduce the “yuck” factor.
Organize a summit to meet with residents, politician, haulers, home owners living near proposed food compost sites, processors, etc. to work out details. They can even help to change state regulations for food composting.


Develop material to educate residents on do’s and don’ts
  • Offer in multiple mediums - printed flyers, magnets, website (including video tutorials)
  • If offering new containers, put label on container so residents know what to include.
  • Update communications on a quarterly basis to keep them fresh.

Identify and communicate the motivators (i.e. lower trash fees, increased diversion rates to hit recycling goals, etc.).


Evaluate and identify the markets for the compost produced from the program
Measure participation rate on a regular basis to improve program results.
Consider making voluntary at first. Switch to mandatory as momentum build.
Start small: conduct a pilot program if you do not have many programs in your area to learn from.
Include food scrap costsin a general trash fee to encourage participation (e.g., so residents use the service to get their money’s worth), or use a pay-as-you-throw (PAYT)rate structure that rewards residents financially for reducing their trash generation.
Download Checklist here

Additional materials to aid in the development of a successful residential collection program:

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