City of
Madison

Have a question or comment on this program? Use the Public Comment Form.

Need more bags? Please email Streets before July 11, 2016. Streets will be unable to supply bags to participants after this date.

Posted: 12/04/2017
I jut found out after talking to a friend that what I've been putting in the organics bin is wrong. I know you're not suppose to use the green bags anymore. And I was using plastic bags!!! I just feel awful. I don't know what I was thinking. Obviously, I wasn't thinking. I was told to put the food in a paper bag. I don't want to get kicked out of the program! Luckily, I don't go through a lot of organic stuff.



City Staff Response:
Hi, Mary

Thank you for changing your process!  And tell your friend thank you as well. Innocent mistakes like this happen, but so long as we can get them corrected, then it'll be okay.  This whole process is pretty new, all things considered, so there will be a learning curve to get adjusted.

Thanks again for your interested and continued participation.  And a big thank you for avoiding plastic bags.  If you have any other questions, feel free to reach out.  I'd be happy to help.

Bryan Johnson
Recycling Coordinator
Posted: 12/04/2017
Hi there
I would like to know if this program is offered throughout madison? I am in the north east of madison. Thanks

City Staff Response:
Hi, Jen

The best way to check to see if your home is eligible for the program would be to email your address to streets@cityofmadison.com and then I will check our routes and let you know directly. 

Thanks for your interest!
-Bryan Johnson
Recycling Coordinator
Posted: 11/28/2017
Hi Bryan,
I am a composting customer. I have been having a problem with smells and fruit flies, so I have been using a brown paper grocery bag and dumping all the food leftovers into it and keeping the bag in my deep freezer until trash day. Other than this the only other things I add to my organics bin is pizza boxes. Just wanted to make sure this is ok.

-Sheila Henry

City Staff Response:
Hi, Sheila
Freezing the food waste is a good idea.  It's not required by any means, but if people have the space in the freezer for this, it's a good way to mitigate the issues you're tackling. 

I have also found online different kitchen collector options that come with charcoal filters that should help with the smell.  I do not have any personal experience with these products to verify that they work as advertised, so buyer beware here, but maybe they would make a nice holiday gift for someone in the program.

As for the pizza boxes, I would make sure that you are recycling the parts of the box that you can.  For example, many pizza lids are not grease stained, so that can be recycled.  It would just be the greasy parts that work for the organics container.  Anyway, as of this writing, pizza boxes and other food-stained paper products that do not have a waxy or plastic coating are okay for the organics cart. 
If you have any other questions, let me know.

Bryan Johnson
Recycling Coordinator
Posted: 11/21/2017
It is frustrating to learn that organics guidelines are not being followed. This program is so easy and hassle free. It's the way of the future! There are communities in the US where the composting programs are mandatory. What can I do to help Madison make this a success?

City Staff Response:
Hi, Marylynn

One easy thing to do is keep participating - that's key.  And next when the opportunities arise, share how easy and important the program is to you with neighbors, friends, family, social media contacts, elected officials, the mail carrier - pretty much chat with anyone who asks a question or could use a nudge regarding the program.

Thanks so much for participating, Marylynn.

-Bryan Johnson
Recycling Coordinator
Posted: 11/21/2017
I attended on April 26th at Pinney Library the organics recycling program AND signed up for the program as well as email notifications regarding any updates with the organic program. I even had a conversation with you Bryan after the meeting. However, I recently learned from one of my neighbors who had not attended the public information meeting regarding the organics that an email came out 10/24 regarding an update on the organic collection. I have NOT received any emails regarding this program or any others prior to the 10/24 date if there have been any.

City Staff Response:
Hi, Donna

I am not sure why you are not receiving emails.  You may want to check your spam folder, or even sign up again for the email list at www.cityofmadison.com/streets/organics.  The place to enter your email address is in the sidebar near the picture of chicken bones.

If you have any other questions, let us know.

-Bryan Johnson
Recycling Coordinator
Posted: 11/21/2017
Hello,

Can I put turkey bones in the compost bin?

City Staff Response:
Absolutely.

-Bryan Johnson
Recycling Coordinator
Posted: 10/25/2017
I just received the email about the issues with continued contamination of the organic materials. Has this information been mailed out to participants as well? I assume not because we haven't seen anything. On our street alone there are three houses that have been sold at least once since the program started, one of them twice. It is likely that the new owners do not know or understand the program. They are also probably not receiving emails regarding it. I have spoken to a few of them about it, but I do not know if they understand the program completely.

I love this program and want to see it continue.

Thanks!

City Staff Response:
Diana,

This is a very good idea.  I have not sent out anything to all volunteers in a while, and it will be something I work on.  Keep an eye on your mail.

Bryan Johnson
Recycling Coordinator
Posted: 10/25/2017
Where can we find an accurate list of everything that is allowed in the program? We've participated since the very beginning, but it's getting more and more difficult to get accurate info. There needs to be a straightforward one-page sheet with the latest guidelines, where we don't need to dig through pages of FAQ. Then, we scroll back and find something that's allowed that might have been banned in a more recent answer. There are statements on this website, for example, still encouraging the use of bio bags. We switched to paper quite some time ago, but I'm guessing that part of the current problem addressed in yesterday's email could be avoided with better communication on the city's part. Specifically, our family would like to know about paper towels and tissues. These were allowed at one time, but now it seems unclear. Cardboard Q-tips were okay at one time, but what about now? What about tea bags with strings currently pictured as being okay on the PDF that's posted on this site? Thanks.

City Staff Response:
Hi, Baxter

There is a list available right on the main organics page. There's a link that says "What to Put In My Cart."  Here's the link:
http://www.cityofmadison.com/streets/documents/Coretipsheet.pdf

The link does still list BPI approved products as being okay, but we're still hoping people avoid using compostable bags at this time.

As for finding bad information deeper in this FAQ system, that will be tough to correct based on the limitations with this particular interface.  We may have to eliminate this FAQ system all together in order to cure that problem, but this is a conversation that will be had with the city's IT team.

In general, if you looking for advice on material that can go into the organics cart, I would try to keep it simple.  If it was food, it's good.

As for the items you listed in your question:
  • Paper towels: still okay, assuming you are using them for food-related clean-up, like wiping out a pan after cooking.
  • Q-tips & other cotton swabs: not okay. The middle bar on Q-tip & Q-tip like devices could be plastic or some kind of paper/plastic composite, and the stuff most likely on the swab would be a problem, too  (make up, human waste, or something else all together).
  • Tissues: not okay. This, again, has more to do with what's in the tissue than the paper itself
  • Tea bags and strings: For 100% perfection, I would throw the string in the refuse, and remove the staple from the tea bag if there is one and throw the staple in the trash, too. The rest of the tea bag would be fine for the organics bin.
If you have any other questions, let me know.

-Bryan Johnson
Recycyling Coordinator
Posted: 10/25/2017
What is the status of the composting program and the use of the compostable bags?The last I heard was that an investigation was underway and that the use of the compostable bags was to be suspended temporarily .Am I allowed the resume the use of the compostable bags?Does this depend on the brand of bags to be used?Our household has been participating in the program on a limited basis since the order went out not to use the compostable bags.We have purchased a large quantity of the "UNNI"brand 2.6 gal.bags .Are they acceptable?Thanks for any help you can offer in this matter.
Ron Standish

City Staff Response:
Hi, Ron
I'm sorry for the long delay in responding.  I suspect you will have seen the email blast I have sent out to those on the organics email list where I am asking people to keep up with avoiding the bags.

Bags that are truthfully compostable, and I believe the brand you mentioned here is, will compost.  However, we're fighting a different problem here in trying to find the people who keep putting contamination in the cart. 

Our trucks are equipped with what is basically a security camera to watch what tumbles from the cart into the vehicle. If we keep avoiding bagging the material, the operator will be able to spot the problem material more easily - and make the people who are using plastic bags for their food waste easier to spot, too.  This way we can know what homes are causing the contamination problem, and contact them.

Thank you for participating, and your patience. 

Bryan Johnson
Recycling Coordinator
Posted: 10/03/2017
Hi- by what year is the organics program planned to be available for the entire city i.e. no longer as a pilot program, but as a regular service? What can a group of activists 5-15 individuals do to help expand the organics program so it includes the entire city? Thanks for your time.

City Staff Response:
Hi, Nathan

To answer your questions:

1) There is no definite timeline on expansion of the organics program.  We will continue to roll out to new neighborhoods as fast as we can, or as slow as we need to. 

2) The program has dropped "pilot" from its description, but in practice, it's still a pilot because of the small slice of Madison we have been able to add.  We have right around 1,100 homes enrolled and around 40 businesses.

3) As for tips for activists, first I would get involved in any public meeting or survey to make sure your concerns are heard.  This is general advice for anyone concerned about making sure your concerns are heard.  Right now, there is a survey available regarding Madison's plan to use 100% renewable energy - so fill out that survey.
Also, be sure to get involved in the Imagine Madison public meetings and online surveys.  These are events meant to get public feedback regarding how Madison should grow and look in the years to come.
And there is the age-old advice to everyone concerned about issues affecting your community - contact your elected officials at every level to let them know how you feel. City, county, state, and federal could all benefit from hearing the people they serve.  The name of the game with all things is to get involved.  Attend public meetings, join commitees, contact elected officials, be persistent about the values you feel your city should be reflecting.

If you have any other questions, let us know.

Bryan Johnson
Recycling Coordinator
Posted: 08/25/2017
Can garden plants go into the organics bin?
I have tomato, broccoli, cucumber and pepper plants that are just about done producing for the year.

City Staff Response:
Hi, Brad

Those plants would be considered yard waste and should be taken to one of the yard waste drop-off sites, or held onto until the Streets Division begins the fall yard waste collection.  Only a small amount of yard waste - like a handful of leaves or so - is acceptable in the organics cart. 

There has not been an announced start date for the fall curbside collections of yard waste yet, but it'll probably kick off sometime toward the end of September or early October - depending on when the leaves start to fall.

If you have any other questions, let us know.
Bryan Johnson
Recycling Coordinator
Posted: 08/23/2017
Aren't the green composting bags available anymore?

City Staff Response:
Hi, Richard

Due the cost of supplying the compostable liners, we no longer supply them to those in the program. 

I recommend trying alternatives to the compostable liners, such as newspaper or even paper bags.  You could even go bagless if you would like to give that a try. 

If you have any other questions, let me know.

-Bryan Johnson
Recycling Coordinator
Posted: 08/17/2017
Hello,

I would like to know the requirements to sign up to this program?.

Thank you,
Angelica

City Staff Response:
Hi, Angelica.

It depends on where you live and if you are in one of the areas of the city we're able to cover with our limited program.

If you would like to send an email to the Streets Division (streets@cityofmadison.com) and we can check to see if your address is elgible.

Thanks for your interest!

Bryan Johnson
Recycling cooordinator
Posted: 08/11/2017
We started with the organics program at the beginning of this month, and have been very happy with the program thus far. We also compost at home, so the material that we send to the city program is usually meat/cheese based. I've found that keeping the kitchen collector in the freezer with a paper bag liner works well for us. It does take up quite a bit of freezer space, but it's worth it to me to avoid any smell issues in either container.

Would it be possible to maintain a more extensive list of things that can and cannot be included in the collection? There is some information available in the Q&A section of the website, but it is difficult to sort through and some of it seems to be outdated based on how the city program has evolved. If all of the items that were asked about in the Q&A were added to a master list along with a yes/no answer, I think it would make a great resource for all participants.

Specific things that I've been thinking about: natural sponges / loofahs, "take and bake" pizza trays, paper wrappers from soap bars, paper slices from between deli cheese, and butter wrappers.

City Staff Response:
Hi, Anna.

I think the best thing to use to guide people as to what can, and cannot, go into the cart would be to use the one-page guide found here: http://www.cityofmadison.com/streets/documents/Coretipsheet.pdf

The guide should point out the basic dos and don'ts with the program.  Even with the guide, I think the simplest way to attack this program and avoid contamination would be to avoid placing it in the cart unless it is food scraps.

As far as the specific list you have here, I'll run through them, in reverse order:
  • Butter wrappers: do not place into the organics cart.  Paper with a waxy coating is a problem.  This goes into the refuse.
  • Parchment paper between cheese slices: This depends. If it has a shine to it, or appears to have any kind of waxy coating, I would place it into the refuse.
  • Paper wrapper on soap: Again, if it's waxy, it's no good for the organics program.  That goes into the refuse.
  • Take and bake pizza trays: Probably refuse here as well because those trays likely have some kind of treatment for them to stand up to being placed into the oven without burning, so I would place them into the refuse.
  • Natural sponges/loofahs: I would err on the side of the caution here and place them into the refuse unless they are clearly identified and certified as compostable.  Chances are they are not compostable because if they were I would suspect they would not be able to stand up to repeated wet use.
If you have any other questions, let me know.

-Bryan Johnson
Recycling Coordinator
 
Posted: 07/24/2017
Can we put organic waste from our garden in the bins? Weeds, plant cuttings etc? We do not use pesticides.

City Staff Response:
Hi, Laura

Only a small amount.  When it comes to yard waste material like what you described, a handful or so of weeds or leaves wouldn't be a problem.  But you should not put too much of this material in there.  This also goes for grass clippings and other yard waste debris.  This kind of stuff should be taken to one of the yard waste drop-off sites.

-Bryan Johnson
Recycling Coordinator
Posted: 07/17/2017
I was in the original pilot program a few years ago and then moved from the neighborhood. I'm very happy that the composting program has come to my new neighborhood. Thanks!

Question - we used to be able to compost tissues, is that still the case? I assume that paper towels are okay.

City Staff Response:
Hi, Barb

Paper towels are okay since that's going to contain food waste, more than likely. 

We do not want tissues in the organics bins.  The tissue would probably breakdown very quickly since the paper fiber is so thin, and the aloe coating likely wouldn't pose any issues (so long as it's not some kind of synthetic softener) - but the real issue is the human waste contained within those tissues. 

When we first started the food waste program, we were partnered with a composter who was not trying to make something they would sell to farmers and gardeners and the like.  Therefore, we were able to accept a lot of stuff then that we can't accept now.  Right now, our composter is trying to make a product for farmers & gardeners, so we do not want human waste products in the organics bin - so no tissues, no diapers, no  hygiene products at all for that matter.

If you have any other questions, let us know.

Bryan Johnson
Recycling Coordinator
Posted: 07/17/2017
I heard you could make a bag for organic recycling out of newspapers. Is the instructions on-line? Thanks

City Staff Response:
Hi, Sheri

The best resources I've found for folding newspaper bags are found on YouTube.  There are literally dozens of these videos.  The one I like, becuase it's the shortest, is from Davis, CA.  I like it because it cuts to the chase and is only 43 seconds long.  If you search around using the terms "organics newspaper" or "newspaper food waste bin" or some other combination of those terms you'll see more videos, and some other variations of it.

If you have any other questions, let us know.

Bryan Johnson
-Recycling Coordinator

 
Posted: 06/27/2017
Hi, there's a post from last summer where you said you did not want much yard waste material such as leaves and grass. Has this changed? We usually have a fair amount of green yard material that I'd like to go to good use.
-Caroline

City Staff Response:
Hi, Caroline.

We only wanted a small amount of yard waste in the organics carts.  That's been a standing procedure for some time now - at least a few years.  The prohibition of large amounts of yard waste are about the times when we're able to use a digester.  Yard waste can clump up and clog things (plus there isn't a big biogas component to that material), so digesters want us to minimize it in our loads to them.  And since we do still plan on using a digester long term, we want to keep the rule about small amounts of yard waste in place.  Large amounts of this material like grass clippings or weeds should be taken to one of the yard waste drop-off sites.

If you have any other questions, let me know.

Bryan Johnson
Recycling Coordinator
Posted: 06/25/2017
A recent article in the State Journal mentioned big problems with the green bags not decomposing properly or quickly enough.This seems like a new development to me . Has something changed?Is this issue somehow related to the fact that most people no longer use the small city issued bags?I've been buying the somewhat larger compostable bags thinking they were just fine but perhaps this isn't the case.I have always avoided the biodegradable bags because I realize they are a big no no. Any idea when we will be able to resume using the green bags?
Thank,
Ron

City Staff Response:
Hi, Ron.

We sent out an email to everyone on the Organics email list announcing that the composter we're currently using asked us to put a pause on using compostable bags.  He noticed an issue with some bags not breaking down appropriately, and he wants to do some tests and ferret out the cause of this issue.  It could be a problematic bag brand.  It could be something inside the bags not breaking down.  It could be something else all together, which is why he wants to perform some tests.  Really, at this point we're just awaiting the test results.  Once we get word from the composter about a specific brand, or other guidance from them that works better in their system, we'll be back at it.  There isn't a set timeline on this process, but it shouldn't take too long.  It's something the composter wants to quickly solve. In the meantime, keep on participating by using paper bags, or newspaper-folded bags, or perhaps even using no bag at all.  And once I learn more about how we need to proceed with the bags, it will be shared again through the Organics email list (which you can sign up for on the Organics section of the website), and it will be posted on the Organics section of the Streets Division site as well. 

-Bryan Johnson
Recycling Coordinator
Posted: 06/23/2017
Hi,

I first learned of this program years ago and am very happy to hear that it has expanded.
I live in one of the Villages within Madison so we do not have city services.
Is there anyone I could contact to learn more about the cost and options to begin a program in our neighborhood? I would need some detailed data to present to our board and neighbors to get a similar program started.
Thanks!


City Staff Response:
Hi, Sarah.

There are some private companies that perform food waste composting in Madison, but I don't believe any of them are large enough to be able to handle an entire municipality - except for maybe Sanimax.  Sanimax primarily works with restaurants and hotels.  To the best of my knoweldge, they do not offer any kind of residential service, but perhaps your community could be a test case. 

However, I would start with the hauler that services your community first to see if they can accomodate what the village wants and what the price would be for that. 

It's hard to estimate the costs because it depends on the size of the program, the tipping fee at the composting or digestion facility, and whether or not the company would need to invest in new equipment, routes, and collection bins. 

I'm glad to see that other communities are looking into this because it's definitely the future of recycling in this area. 

-Bryan Johnson
Recycling Coordinator
Posted: 06/02/2017
Thank you for expanding the organic collection to my neighborhood. I have been hoping to be able to participate since the program was piloted! I look forward to being a part of a program that benefits our city, the people who live here and the earth!

City Staff Response:
You're welcome, Cheryl!  We're happy to be able to expand the program, too!

-Bryan Johnson
Recycling Coordinator
Posted: 05/25/2017
My wife was wondering if she could wrap our organic waste in newspaper prior to placing it in the container.

City Staff Response:
Absolutely!  Avoid using the glossy inserts, though.  Just use the main newsprint parts.

-Bryan Johnson
Recycling Coordinator
Posted: 05/25/2017
can organics be wrapped in newspaper and then placed in conrtainer

City Staff Response:
They sure can!  That is a great and inexpensive way to line the kitchen collector instead of using compostable bags.

-Bryan Johnson
Recycling Coordinator
Posted: 05/16/2017
I'm so happy that the city of Madison has this program. I have a few questions to clarify:

1 Is pick up weekly?

2 Is pick up year-round, or only between certain dates?

Thank you! Keep up the great work!

City Staff Response:
I'm glad we could get to your neighborhood!

1) Yes, collection is weekly on the same day as your refuse collection.  So, if you are in the new Monday collection area, we will have a separate organics collection truck running that route every Monday collection day (so when holidays fall on Mondays - like Memorial Day - organics is just pushed back a day like refuse collection).

2) The collection is year round.  In the winter, most people produce less food waste so some people have a tendency to put the carts out less frequently - but we will be around every scheduled collection day.

If you have any other questions, let me know.

Bryan Johnson
Recycling Coordinator
Posted: 05/15/2017
How can we join the organics collection program?

City Staff Response:
Hi, Casey.

The program is limited in terms of who we can serve, so the best thing to do would be to send your address to streets@cityofmadison.com and I will see if it is within a current zone we serve.

If you have any other questions, let me know.

-Bryan Johnson
Recycling Coordinator
Posted: 05/15/2017
I read about an organics/compost program in Madison many years ago and wonder when this will become a city-wide effort. I just got back from Ontario, Canada where they've had a program such as this for some time. I hope it's coming soon!

Thank you,
Scott Beddia

City Staff Response:
Hi, Scott.

First, welcome back to Madison. 

As for when the program will become citywide - well, that's tricky.  The city's budget situation is tough, and the expansion of the program hinges on available funding.  Now, I am confident we will get there, but I don't know when.  The importance of diverting food waste from the landfill is clear to a great many people. As I've said before, we will keep expanding the program as fast as we can or as slow as we need to until we can serve everyone.  While progress may be slow, we should be thrilled that we're having progress.  Right now, we just added another route of volunteers.  We hope to expand to more volunteers later this year - if all goes according to plan.  And this is great news.  Sure, it's not as many people as we would like, but again, it's progress. 

If you have any other questions, let us know.

Bryan Johnson
Recycling Coordinator
Posted: 05/15/2017
Is it too late to get an organics bin?

City Staff Response:
Hi, Angela.

If you live within one of the areas that we can service, we absolutely can add you to the route. 

Just send an email to streets@cityofmadison.com or give me a call at 608-267-2626 and we'll double-check that you're in an area we can serve and set up the cart delivery.

Bryan Johnson
Recycling Coordinator
 
Posted: 05/15/2017
I received my cart, bags and "under sink bucket" and have somewhat of an idea of what I am supposed to do on my end. I have two questions please. I live on upper Buckeye near the highway on the even side, when does program begin picking up my waste and is it weekly ? My second question concerns upcoming summer heat. Does anyone have suggestions on holding down the smell and insects ?

City Staff Response:
Hi, Thomas.

To answer your questions:

1) The first collection will be Monday, May 22.

2) With smell, what we've found helpful would be to be sure to keep the kitchen collector clean and empty it regularly.  Compostable bags also help contain the smell.  Sprinkling baking soda into the cart has helped as well.  As for bugs - there hasn't been a bug issue reported to me.  If you keep the kitchen collector clean and regularly emptied, you shouldn't encounter many issues like fruit flies.  And keep in mind, this material was already going into your refuse container and the refuse container does not have any properties that keep bugs away. 

You can also check the Organics Resources page for other tips.

Bryan Johnson
Recycling Coordinator
Posted: 05/15/2017
Just received compost bin last week. Will they start collecting right away. My refuse pick up is Monday.

Thanks, Mary

City Staff Response:
Hi, Mary.

The first collection for the latest expansion area is Monday, May 22.

If you have any other questions, let me know.

Bryan Johnson
Recycling Coordinator
Posted: 04/24/2017
I think this program is great. Is there anything I can do, as an average citizen, to encourage its expansion?

City Staff Response:
There sure is.  I would encourage your friends and neighbors (especially the neighbors) to join the program.  Most neighborhoods have their own dedicated Facebook or NextDoor accounts, so sharing stores on there to encourage folks to join would be great.  Also, talking to your alder about how much you like the program would be good, too. 
Posted: 04/21/2017
What size is the bin? What does it look like?


City Staff Response:
The curbside cart is 35 gallons.  It's hard to visualize what that looks like but Streets Division carts for refuse and recycling come in two sizes: 65 gallons and 95 gallons.  The organics cart is just about half the size of the smallest available curbside cart.

There are a couple varieties with the curbside cart for organics collection.  Some neighborhoods have an all black cart and others have what I like to call "pumpkins."  They're green bodies with a bright orange lid.  Both the black and pumpkin carts are the same size and perform the same function, and both are easily distinguishable from the refuse and recycling carts currently in your home.

-Bryan Johnson
Recycling Coordinator
Posted: 04/03/2017
How about the ashes from my charcoal grill-are they able to be placed in organic so bin? Thanks

City Staff Response:
Hi, Beth.

Good question.  No, we do not want charcoal ashes in the food waste/organics.  The composter does not want it.

Now, to answer why this material should not be composted gets a bit complicated.  To make it simple, charcoal ash (which I mean is ash from the briquettes in our backyard grills) can cause a chemical imbalance that will disrupt the composting process. Therefore, we do not want that in there.  Just wait until the ash is cool, double bag it, and place it into the refuse container.

Thanks for the question.
Bryan Johnson
Recycling Coordinator
Posted: 04/03/2017
Are items able to be dropped off at any of your facilities? Is pet waste able to be composted if in the proper bag?

City Staff Response:
Hi, Nikki.

First - pet waste is not allowed in our food waste program.  This is absolute.  Most of our household pets are meat eaters and therefore the microbes that exist in their waste is not appropriate for composting.  Never put pet waste into the food waste or organics program.  True, at one point of time in this program we did tell people that it was okay, but it is no longer true.  We learned from that mistake.  Do not put pet waste into the organics container. Pet waste belongs in your refuse container.

As for the drop-off, we do not yet have drop-off services for the food waste.  It's a tricky proposition, actually.  The concern we have is contamination.  We would never expect people who would bring food waste to us to be the ones that would put plastic bottles or metals cans into the food waste container - but our site is visited by hundreds of people a day for a variety of reasons.  We do not have the staffing at our drop-off sites to properly monitor a truck or set of bins to prevent someone else from contaminating them with non-food waste products.  I think a drop-off is a good idea, but we're not able to provide it at this time.  If you are not in the curbside food waste collection program, your food waste would have to go into the refuse until we're able to expand to your neighborhood.

Thanks for your questions.
Bryan Johnson
Recycling Coordinator
Posted: 02/14/2017
Compostable dinnerware is readily available. Wondering if non-foam/non-plastic coated paper plates are compostable in the black bin program?

Specifically, something like this.
https://www.costco.com/Dixie-Ultra-Paper-Plate-6-78%22-300ct.product.100059034.html

City Staff Response:
Hi, Josh.

Yes, compostable paper plates that do not have the plastic or waxy film on it can be composted in our program right now.

However, I do not recommend using paper plates if you can help it. Reusables are better. 

Plus, some of the other compostable dinnerware products, like spoons and forks, can be problematic because they are so hard to distinguish from regular plastic ones.  Again, choosing resusables would be a better option.

-Bryan Johnson
Recycling Coordinator
Posted: 02/14/2017
The Ace hardware story on Williamson Street carries 2.5 gal compostable bags, brand is Full Circle, they work very nicely in the green kitchen compost bin provided by the city program.

City Staff Response:
Hi, Mary.

This is great news!  Just be sure that they are compostable and carry the seal of approval from the US Composting Council.

Bryan Johnson
Recycling Coordinator
Posted: 01/23/2017
I read with interest the comment about 2.5 gal bags not working in the city provided disposal binthe small one which we keep under the kitchen sink.If anything I would guess that these bags would be too big not too small since the city issued free bags are labeled 2gal/8 liters.I look foreword Any feedback from Mr. Johnson or others .

City Staff Response:
Hi, Ron.

While the 2 gallon bags fit into the kitchen collector, it's not a lot very loose fit, which means there's not a lot of excess bag to tie off. Therefore, it does not give a lot of room to work with if you wait until the bag is filled to the top before removing it from the kitchen collector. To use the 2 gallon bags, and have that tie-off space, you need to pluck the bag from the collector when it's around 3/4 full or so to make sure you have the space to tie it. If you want until it's full to the top, you probably won't have the space to tie it off neatly, especially since there aren't tails on the bag to facilitate tying.

Of course, you could go bagless.  It's a little messier, sure, but it is more cost-effective. 

There are also several helpful YouTube videos that show how to fold newspaper into a boat that will fit right into a kitchen collector for food waste, and that could work as well.

You could obtain a larger compostable bag as well, like 2.5 gallon bags, or 3 gallon bags.  There's a variety of bag sizes available, so if you choose compostable bags, just make the choice that best suits your needs, of course.  You could even get compostable bags big enough to fit directly into the roll out cart.

If you have any other questions, let me know.

Bryan Johnson
Recycling Coordinator