Curbside Composting Program

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What is the Athens Curbside Compost Pilot Program?

The City of Athens, in partnership with the Athens-Hocking Recycling Center and Rural Action, is excited to offer a limited number of residents the opportunity to participate in a curbside compost pilot program to decrease the amount of material that is sent to the landfill. Households who are eligible and sign up for this free six-month pilot program will separate their organic waste, such as food scraps and paper towels, from their regular trash and recycling and place it at the curb for weekly collection.

The City of Athens is conducting this pilot program to fine-tune a model of curbside compost collection that, if successful, will be launched as a city-wide service.  

When can I sign up?

Now through mid-June, or until all spots in the program are filled.

Why should I participate?

The weight of the typical American family’s trash is made up of 30% compostable material, so taking part in the pilot program can greatly reduce the amount of material your household sends to the landfill. When organic material is sent to the landfill instead of being composted, it creates potent greenhouse gases such as methane, which contribute to climate change.

The City of Athens recognizes the importance of reducing the amount of waste that is sent to the landfill and increasing opportunities for composting in its Sustainability Action Plan. This pilot program, which the City plans to eventually launch as a city-wide service if successful, will help Athens reach its 2020 goal of diverting 50% of organic material generated by residents from the landfill.

The Athens-Hocking Solid Waste Management Plan Update draft also includes a goal to reach a 25% diversion rate for Athens and Hocking Counties within 5 years.  This project will help the solid waste district reach its diversion goal.

Who can participate?

Any City of Athens resident who lives in either a single-family home or in an apartment building with 4 units or fewer can participate in the program.

What does it cost to participate?

The pilot program is FREE to participants!

What do I get for participating?

Aside from being provided this 6-month service for free, you will receive a 5-gallon compost bucket with a lid, label, and handle for putting your organic waste at the curb. All participants will also have access to helpful educational materials to explain what does and does not go in the bucket and how to make composting easier in your home. 

When does the program start and how long does it last?

The pilot program is set to begin in early August and will last for 6 months, wrapping up in February. Participants may then have the option to continue their curbside service for a fee.

Requirements for Participation

Participating in the compost pilot is free to you. As a participant, your household agrees to:

  • Compost your organic waste for the entire 6-month duration of the pilot.
  • Put only accepted organic waste in your compost bucket (container, lid, and educational materials will be provided)
  • Take your bucket to the curb by 7am with your trash and recycling each week and retrieve your bucket from the curb after it is emptied.
  • Place your lid securely on your bucket if storing the bucket outside and when bringing your bucket to the curb each week for pickup.
  • Wash your own bucket as frequently (or infrequently) as you desire.
  • Participate in occasional surveys to share your experience with the pilot program.
  • Occasionally report how much trash, recycling, and compost you took to the curb.

Other FAQs

How do I compost in the kitchen?

One option is to keep the compost bucket provided to you by the program in your kitchen and put food waste directly in it. If don’t want your 5-gallon bucket to be inside your kitchen, you can store it outside and keep a smaller container on your countertop (or inside your fridge or freezer to stop odors and bugs). This option is convenient because you can have it next to when you are preparing meals and creating food scraps. You can use anything from a more decorative container sold specially as a countertop compost bin to a discarded yogurt tub.

Over time, you will figure out what works best for you and your household! Rural Action is available to answer any questions you may have about how to integrate composting more easily into your kitchen.

But, composting is gross and smelly... 

There can be some odor and “yuck factor” involved with composting. But there are things you can do to help prevent these things. Storing your food scraps in the fridge or freezer until they go out to the curb will stop bugs from getting to them and odors from stinking up your kitchen. Containers with charcoal filters, which can be purchased separately, help contain odors, too.

Maybe thinking of composting this way also helps: the food waste that is going in your compost bucket has always been in your kitchen, but before it was just mixed in with your other trash. So you are not creating new waste, now it’s just in a different place.

What happens to the food scraps that I put in my bucket?

Once your bucket, containing only acceptable material, is set at the curb, Athens-Hocking Organics’ crew dumps the material in their collection vehicle and delivers it to their composting facility at 5991 Industrial Dr. in The Plains. Wood chips are added to the food scraps, and it is processed there for 3-6 months before it turns into a soil amendment. The finished product is then available for sale to the public. 

What can go in my compost bucket?

 YES- Put these items in your bucket!

  • Vegetable Scraps
  • Fruit Scraps
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Tea and Tea Bags
  • Egg Shells
  • Stale Bread
  • Paper towels
  • Paper Napkins
  • Small quantities of meat, dairy, eggs
  • Small quantities of oils and fats

 NO- Leave these items out of your bucket!

  • Compostable Serviceware
  • Yard Waste: e.g. sticks, twigs, grass clippings, leaves
  • Bulk Meat and Fish
  • Bulk Bones
  • Bulk Cheese, Eggs, or Milk
  • Bulk Oils and Fats
  • Plastic, Glass, or Metal
  • Chemicals
  • Wood
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Animal Waste

 
 

What if I am not sure if something belongs in the compost bin?

If you aren’t sure if something belongs in your bucket, don’t put it inside! Direct your question to:

Athens-Hocking Recycling Center

(740) 594-5312

or

Andrea Reany, Rural Action

(740) 677-4047

andrea@ruralction.org