drop-off your food scraps to be turned into compost?


1. Learn about this resource. 

Residents can bring their food waste to a location near them on weekends. Food waste, like fruit and vegetable scraps, can be broken down into compost. Compost is rich in nutrients and can be added to soil as a fertilizer to help with gardening and farming. We—DC Government—collect your compostable food waste at 10 locations across the District and compost it for you. This program can help if you can’t or don’t want to compost at your home, but you still want to reduce your food waste.


This program is called Food Waste Drop-Off and is offered by the DC Department of Public Works.

2. Check if you are eligible.

You may be eligible if you live in DC.


We don't accept commercial compost.

3. Participate.

  1. Collect your fruit and veggie scraps, coffee grounds, egg shells, nut shells, and small household plants in a sealed container. You can check our list of everything we accept if you’re not sure whether something is compostable.
  2. You may want to store your food waste in your freezer to avoid any bad smells or pests.
  3. Find a drop-off location near you and check when it’s open. Some locations aren’t open in the winter.
  4. Bring your food waste to a drop-off location and empty your container into one of the food waste collection bins.
  5. Rinse your container and repeat!

4. Gather more information.

What happens after I participate?

We bring your food waste to a local compost site in the District or to a local commercial composting facility, where it gets turned into a nutrient-rich fertilizer that can be used for gardening or farming.

Are there any additional requirements I should know about?

Some drop-off locations are only open seasonally. Check the dates and times of drop-off locations.

Who should I contact if I have questions?

First, take a look at the frequently asked questions below. If you still have questions, please reach out to our Food Waste Drop-Off team at (202) 673-6833, Monday to Friday, 8:15 am to 4:45 pm. Or, you can email the team at zero.waste@dc.gov using the subject line “Food Waste Drop-Off Question.”

I still need help making my home more environmentally friendly. What should I do?

You can find information about other resources that might help on our environmental resources page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is composting? Composting is a process where organisms, such as microbes, fungi, or worms, break down your food waste and other organic material, into compost. Compost is rich in nutrients and can be added to soil to help new plants grow. You need the right mixture of items with lots of nitrogen (such as food waste or fresh grass clippings), items with lots of carbon (such as leaves, straw, or sticks), oxygen, and water. Why should I compost? Composting keeps food waste out of landfills, which can help lower harmful methane emissions. It also creates a nutrient-rich natural fertilizer that you can use in your garden to grow food and other plants. What if I want to compost at my home? You can get a rebate of up to $75 when you attend a composting workshop and buy composting equipment for your home. Find out more on our home composting program page.

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Keywords: compost drop-off, farmers' markets, reduce food waste, composting, renters, homeowners, sustainability, conservation


This page was last updated May 2021.