Way Cool Compost Idea


The kooky-cool city of Austin, Texas, has just spurred a city-wide composting program that’ll collect compostable kitchen waste from your curb …

(with the tip of a hat and a thank you, ma’am).

Austin Resource Recovery recently launched a one-year pilot program called Curbside Organics Collection, and so far, they’re bagging a bounty.

In the past month, 7,900 random households around the city started hauling weekly collections of organic waste—stuff like food scraps, food-soiled paper, and yard trimmings—to their curbs. Pilot participants each received a 96-gallon cart to use for curbside compost collection as well as a food scrap container to help with the collection of leftovers in the kitchen.

What does the city do with the salvaged scraps?

“Organic materials collected at the curb are turned into nutrient-rich compost, mulch, and garden soils specifically designed for central Texas!” cheers the city’s website. “Collecting organic materials at the curb will keep greater amounts of valuable materials out of our landfills, reduce harmful greenhouse gases, and help Austin get closer to Zero Waste by 2040.”

Specifically, the sundry scraps are carted off to Organics by Gosh, where they are brewed into “black gold” (compost, of course) that will be sold for use in local lawns and gardens. The cycle from curbside waste to compost takes about a year.

Photo by Kessner Photography via Wikimedia Commons

“Austin Resource Recovery manager Richard McHale ultimately hopes to expand the curbside pick-up of organic waste city wide within the next three years,” reports Mother Nature Network.

A number of other cities across the United States are beginning to offer curbside compost collection service, so it’s worth a call to your city hall or waste management service to “get the scoop” for your neighborhood.

You can also check FindaComposter.com, a growing resource designed to help you locate a compost collection service or drop-off facility. A quick search of my area revealed Eko Compost in Lewiston, about 30 miles from me, which would be worth an occasional haul if I didn’t take care of my own compost here on the farm. It looked to me like the Find a Composter website could use more entries, so if you find out about a composter near you, encourage its operators to register their facility so that others can track them down with ease.


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I understand Austin is a pretty progressive place to live. This project could help many people trying their hand at some home vegetable growing!!

  2. Dana says:

    I suppose they have rules about yard wastes. wouldn’t it ruin the compost if someone has applied chemical weed killer to their grass, and then adds it to the bin to be used as compost?

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