Curbside Composting Program
What is the Athens Curbside Compost Program?
The City of Athens, in partnership with the Athens-Hocking Recycling Center and Rural Action, is excited to offer residents the opportunity to participate in a curbside compost program to decrease the amount of material that is sent to the landfill. Households who are eligible and sign up for this 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.
When can I sign up?
Now! Email your name, address and phone number to Ron Lucas firstname.lastname@example.org. Please use "Curbside Composting" in the subject line. Also, if you were a pilot program customer who now wishes to opt out, send an email to Ron with “Opt Out” in the subject line.
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 program 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?
If you wish to sign up for the compost service, $20.65 will be added onto your monthly water bill. In the future the City of Athens, Athens-Hocking Recycling Centers, and Rural Action hope to be able to provide this service more widely throughout Athens, which will lower the monthly cost.
What do I get for participating?
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.
Requirements for Participation
Participating in the compost program your household agrees to:
- 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.
- Occasionally report how much trash, recycling, and compost you took to the curb.
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
- 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
Andrea Reany, Rural Action