What is Composting?
Composting is the natural aerobic (with oxygen) decomposition of organic matter into nutrient rich soil. We collect food scraps from your home or business weekly and get them into the composting process and out of the landfill.
- Composting diverts our food scraps from landfills and incinerators.
- Our landfills are filling up, leading to longer and longer hauling distances, higher greenhouse gas emissions, higher waste management costs, and less space available for our trash.Food waste constitutes 22% of discarded municipal solid waste in America.
- When food scraps are left in a landfill or incinerated they release methane, a greenhouse gas that is 80 times as potent as CO₂.
- Composting is a sustainable alternative that puts the nutrients from our food scraps back into the earth and, eventually, our food system by using the finished compost as a fertilizer for local farms.
- Composting is the final step to completing a truly sustainable food cycle system.
What can I compost with Compost Crew?
How do I get started?
For residential service, sign up on our website (link in upper right) and before you know it, you’ll be recycling your food scraps and saving the world! We provide weekly curbside collection of food scraps from homes throughout the DC Metro and Baltimore Metro areas.
If you’re a business, please request a quote and we can provide more details about options for collection bin sizes and service frequency.
I’m not sure if this is for me...Can I try it out for a month?
Absolutely! We offer a pay-as-you-go subscription for the low cost of $32/month with a money-back guarantee for the first month! If, after trying our service you are not satisfied, please contact customer service to request a refund within 30 days of signing up.
Please note: If you are part of a municipal collection service, there are no fees associated with your service.
Can I compost my pumpkins?
Before you do, consider whether the pumpkin can still be used for cooking. You can make lots of delicious recipes with the pumpkin, and roasted seeds are a yummy fall treat. We will update this FAQ if we find any opportunities to donate pumpkins in good condition to local food recovery organizations.
If you can’t find a use for your pumpkin, or if its no longer in edible condition, then you can compost it with us. Please note: if your pumpkin(s) don’t fit inside of your Compost Crew bin, please notify us so we are aware of the additional food waste being collected. This will help us keep our drivers safe and ensure we have enough space in our trucks to collect the food scraps from all of our customers. You can notify us through the customer portal in the Shop, by selecting the appropriate product that matches up with your pumpkin(s). Compost Crew needs to be notified in advance through the customer portal in order to collect any pumpkins that are outside the bin. If we are not notified, our drivers will not collect your extra pumpkins.
Why not use the garbage disposal?
Composting is better than using a garbage disposal for two reasons:
- Using a garbage disposal causes wear and tear on a sewer system that is costly to maintain.
- The food scraps are mixed with the other unsavory parts of a sewer system (need we say more?), and the finished product is therefore of a lower quality with a limited range of applications. Conversely, compost is a highly enriching soil amendment with a wide range of applications.
Where do I put the bin? Doesn’t it smell? What about rodents?
Our bins are more secure than your usual trash bin. We offer a variety of bin types that are all secured through latches or a screw-top lid. No rodents are getting in there, and they wouldn’t want to anyways, because the bin is completely odor-free when closed!
Remember that everyone that starts composting was already putting their food scraps somewhere. Usually, they went in a bag (or not) and into a trash receptacle. But that trash receptacle wasn’t designed for composting! No latch, no seal, and often times, thinner plastic.
From our residential to commercial services, Compost Crew uses bins and bags that are designed for food scraps. We provide the tools, services, and (perhaps more importantly), the education and training to ensure that your composting program will go off without a hitch, so that you can convert naysayers to do-gooders and partners in composting.
Residential customers usually leave the collection bin at the curb while keeping a smaller bin in the kitchen. Commercial customers usually put the compost collection bin(s) in the same location as their current waste receptacle(s) and/or loading dock.. And, though the final decision on how to use our service is up to our customers, we are happy to provide assistance and/or advice as needed.
When and where should I leave my bin out?
Our drivers get on the road as early as 3:00 or 4:00 a.m., so it’s best to place your bin out the night before your scheduled pick-up to avoid a missed collection. Leave your bin within 10 feet of the curb or another truck-accessible roadway, where it is visible and accessible, and we’ll come get it on your pick-up day.
If you live in an apartment building, please make sure building management has approved the use of our service, and agreed on a designated collection location. Email us this location in advance so we know where your bin should be delivered and where it the food scraps will be collected. Please note the bin must be outside, accessible 24-hours, and within 10 feet of a truck accessible roadway (for example: a loading dock).
Where do our compostables and food scraps go?
We partner with two commercial composting facilities and also have our own composting facility at One Acre Farm in Montgomery County. Depending on your location, your food scraps will go to one of these locations. The two commercial facilities are the Prince George’s County Organics Composting Facility owned by Prince George’s County and operated by Maryland Environmental Services and the Balls Ford Road Composting Facility in Manassas, Va., a public partnership between Free State Farms and Prince William County.
How do I get my free compost?
Our customers are eligible to receive free compost twice a year, once each in the fall and spring. We provide two 25 pound, 1 cubic foot bags to all of our customers that want some.
We will send out an email when it’s available with information on how to reserve yours.
How has COVID-19 affected your service?
As an essential business, our food scrap collection services are continuing. All customers should follow the below guidelines to help us minimize risk.
- Use soap and water to clean your bin(s). Lysol, Clorox and other materials marked as “disinfectants” are proven to be effective at reducing the spread of COVID-19. Make sure the substance you use has an alcohol content of at least 60%. For best results in disinfecting, do the following:
- Spray the bin with the disinfectant.
- Wipe the bin clean with a cloth or paper towel.
- Spray the bin again.
- Dab it with the cloth or paper towel and let it evaporate.
- We ask for these measures to both scrub away any germs and keep the disinfectant on the surface for as long as possible. If you are using a disinfecting wipe, make sure you scrub with pressure.
- Our residential collection services have temporarily suspended wiping down bins upon each weekly visit to avoid cross contamination. With this decision we ask that you take extra precaution of washing out your bin each week to keep it as sanitary as possible. We will continue to remove the old food scraps and replace your liner each week.
- We are taking extra precautions in our standard operating procedures and adhering to local regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep our staff and our customers safe. We are following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other global health organizations to collect the most current information to ensure we remain compliant and as safe as possible.
- Our office staff is working remotely and can still be reached during usual business hours: Monday – Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
- Please put all of your food scraps in your bin with the lid secured so it cannot be blown away by the wind. We are not able to accept additional food scraps outside your Compost Crew bin during this time unless you have contacted us to make a special arrangement. If you need to add additional bins to your service or upgrade to a larger size, please contact us to make the adjustment to your account.
- Always practice social distancing with your driver‒if you see them servicing your home please stay at least six feet away from them. If you are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19, please consider suspending service until you are feeling better.
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for sticking with us through all of this. Together we will make it. Thank you for your continued effort and support in helping promote zero waste during these trying times.
Where do I purchase bins and liners?
Below shows the types of bins and associated liners that we have available for sale. To place an order, just email firstname.lastname@example.org with what and how many of each you would like, and we’ll process your order.
We have certain liners available for purchase in the shop on our customer portal, including rolls of liners for the kitchen caddy. You can also purchase compostable liners from our partner, BioBag, on Amazon, which may result in faster delivery times.
If you want to purchase compostable-ware and/or compostable liners not listed on our site, just make sure that they are BPI-certified compostable: http://www.bpiworld.org/.
How should I use the rubber band that comes with my bin?
Rubber bands are a convenient way to keep your liner secured to your bin and help prevent it from slipping/folding when you place food scraps inside. Keep in mind, it is easy for the driver to inadvertently grab the rubber band when collecting your food scraps. This is not intentional. Here are some tips to help preserve your rubber band and keep it with your bin at all times.
- On your service day, either remove the rubber band entirely or roll it down on your bin below the liner. Please don’t tie the compostable liner. Return the rubber band to secure the new liner once service has been completed.
- In the event your rubber band should break or go missing, please reach out to us and our driver will replace it on your next collection day.
What if I go on vacation and need to temporarily suspend pickups?
No problem! You can login to the customer portal to schedule service skips up to 10 weeks in advance. When you mark your service to be skipped, we will credit your account the cost of that week’s service. If you don’t know how to access the customer portal, please email us and we’ll help you get logged in.
Please note: If you are part of a municipal service, this option may not be available.
Help! My bin is damaged or has gone missing!
If your bin is damaged or gets lost, simply call or email us at 301-202-4450 or email@example.com and we’ll deliver you a new bin on your next pickup day. A replacement fee to cover our costs may be assessed depending on the situation.
What is your holiday schedule?
Our holiday schedule is listed below, but your scheduled pickup day will be constant unless you hear differently directly from us via email. Please leave your bin out until collected.
NOTE: WEATHER RELATED CHANGES WILL BE EMAILED AND POSTED VIA SOCIAL MEDIA
2021 Holiday Schedule
- Memorial Day – Monday, May 31
- Customers on Monday routes will be serviced on Saturday, May 29
- Independence Day – Sunday, July 4
- Customers on Monday routes will not receive service in order to give our drivers a paid day off. We will provide Monday customers with additional information about options for your food scraps during this week.
- Labor Day – Monday, September 6
- Customers on Monday routes will be serviced on Saturday, September 4
- Thanksgiving – Thursday, November 25
- Customers on Thursday routes will be serviced on Tuesday, November 23. Customers on Tuesday routes will not receive service in order to give our drivers a paid day off. We will provide Tuesday customers with additional information about options for your food scraps during this week.
- Customers on Friday routes will be serviced on Saturday, November 27.
- Christmas – Saturday, December 25
- Customers on Friday routes will not receive service on December 24, 2021 in order to give our drivers a paid day off. We will provide Friday customers with additional information about options for your food scraps during this week.
- New Year’s Day – Saturday, January 1
- Customers on Friday routes will be serviced on Wednesday, December 29. Customers on Wednesday routes will not receive service in order to give our drivers a paid day off. We will provide Wednesday customers with additional information about options for your food scraps during this week.
For four holidays during the year, we are not automatically shifting our schedule as we do for other holidays in order to give our drivers a small amount of paid time off. We appreciate your support for this initiative. If you have a large amount of food scraps as a result of the holiday schedule changes, we have a few recommendations for you. First, you can store food scraps in the freezer while you wait for the next pick-up. Second, you can also request an overflow pickup using our customer portal. This allows you to leave out an additional bin’s worth of food scraps next to your regular collection bin.
As always, please contact us if we can be of further assistance.
What should I do if I have excess compost that won’t fit in my bin?
We know sometimes people have overflow from parties and other events. And we’d be happy to collect it. We do need to make sure that our trucks have the capacity for your extra food scraps. So please request an “overflow pickup” from the Shop in our customer portal. The overflow has a one-time cost of $5.00.
After you have made the request, leave the extra compostable materials in a secured bin and/or bag (preferably compostable) right next to your Compost Crew collection bin the night before your pick-up day, clearly labeled to make sure our driver knows to take it.
If you have overflow on a more regular basis, consider upgrading to a 12 gallon bin for just $4.00 more per month. That more than doubles your volume and allows you to avoid any overage pickup charges.