Last year, 128,000 people used the 10 drop-off sites around D.C., composting nearly 450 tons of material. Now, the District is planning to launch its first curbside compost pickup program, following the lead of neighboring jurisdictions including Prince George’s County, Arlington County, and Montgomery County. The pilot program will start sometime this summer, though officials with the Department of Public Works were unable to specify an exact date. It will be open to up to 1,500 households in each ward, for a total of as many as 12,000 participants.

That’s equivalent to 11% of the 105,000 households in the District served by DPW. The city only collects trash and recycling (and soon food scraps) from single-family homes and buildings with three or fewer apartments. Larger residential buildings contract with private companies, and will not be eligible for curbside compost collection.

Participation will be available on a first come, first served basis, officials say. There are no details yet on how or when people can sign up. The pilot program has been a long time coming. The District first started looking into a curbside program in 2017, with a feasibility study. That study proposed creating a 10 to 20 acre composting facility within the District to process the food waste. However, finding such a site has proved challenging.

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Author: Jacob Fenston, DCist
Jacob Fenston, DCist