FAQ

At Compost Crew, we are dedicated to the success of our customers. We help residents, businesses and other organizations of all sizes to reduce waste by collecting their food scraps and composting them instead of sending them to the landfill. Check out these frequently asked questions to help guide you through journey.

New to Compost Crew

Thinking about joining our mission to revitalize earth’s soil through composting? Let us help you make a step towards sustainability!

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. Why compost?

  1. Composting diverts our food scraps from landfills and incinerators.
  2. 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.
  3. When food scraps are left in a landfill or incinerated they release methane, a greenhouse gas that is 80 times as potent as CO₂.
  4. 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.
  5. Composting is the final step to completing a truly sustainable food cycle system.

What can I compost with Compost Crew?

In short, you can compost all types of food — yes, including meat and dairy — and soiled paper products. Take a peek at our graphic list below and download!For a comprehensive list, click here.  We also have a translated the list into Spanish.

Do you service my neighborhood?

Thinking about starting your composting journey with us? Click here to see a real-time map of the areas that we currently service. If we aren’t servicing your area yet, don’t lose hope! When you sign up, our team keeps track of the interest of households across the DMV and are always looking for areas to extend our service.

Is there a trial period?

We offer a pay-as-you-go subscription at $32/month with a money-back guarantee for the first month! If you are not satisfied with this service, 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.

Will the bin 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 won’t be interested since the bin is completely odor-free when closed.

Before diverting food into a compost bin, these scraps were left outside in a trash receptacle that had thinner plastic, no seal, no latches and maybe even no lid! From our residential to commercial services, Compost Crew uses bins and bags that are designed for food scraps.

We provide the tools, services, the education and training to ensure that your composting program will go off without a hitch. Convert naysayers to do-gooders and partners in composting.

Why not use the garbage disposal?

Composting is better than using a garbage disposal for a few reasons that we explain in our Sustainability Wars blog. Here are just a couple reasons why:

  1. Using a garbage disposal causes wear and tear on a sewer system that is costly to maintain.
  2. 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.

How do I get started?

We provide weekly curbside collection of food scraps from homes throughout the DC Metro and Baltimore Metro areas.

For residential service, simply sign up on our website! If you’re a business, please request a quote and we can provide more details about options for collection bin sizes and service frequency.

Before you know it, you’ll be recycling your food scraps and aiding the planet.

Existing Customers

Thank you for being a part of Compost Crew! Here are a few of the frequently asked questions from fellow game changers.

How do I access the Customer Portal?

We are so excited to have you as a Compost Crew customer! It’s time to start navigating our Customer Portal where you can shop cool merch, refer a friend or add a service!navigate our customer portal where you can update your address, update your payment method, get a referral code, report a missed pick-up, get support, skip service for the week, purchase a gift certificate, browse services and merchandaise

Visit the Services & Support button in the Customer Portal for portal-related FAQ.

Where do our compostable items and food scraps go?

Compost Crew partners with local farms including One Acre Farm, Butler’s Orchard and ECO City Farms to compost residential scraps at our Compost Outpost® sites. Depending on your location, your food scraps will go to one of these sites.

We also partner with two commercial facilities including Prince George’s County Organics Composting Facility owned by Prince George’s County and operated by Maryland Environmental Services and Balls Ford Road Composting Facility, a public partnership between Free State Farms and Prince William County.

When and where should I put my bin out?

Our drivers get on the road as early as 3:00 AM, so it’s best to place your bin out the night before your scheduled pick-up to avoid a missed collection.

Customers composting from their apartment building need to 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.

Residential customers usually leave the collection bin at the curb while keeping a kitchen caddy indoors or even freezing their scraps until the night before pick-up!

Commercial customers usually put the compost collection bin(s) in the same location as their current waste receptacle(s) and/or loading dock.

Please Note: The bin must be outside, accessible 24-hours, and within 10 feet of a curb or truck accessible roadway (for example: a loading dock). 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.

Should I tie my compostable liner?

No. Please leave your liners untied.  Some of our food scraps are processed by hand at local farms, where our team opens up each compostable liner.  Having untied liners makes it much easier to do so.  Food that gets trapped inside a tied compostable liner do not break down in the same way that food scraps mixed with leaves and wood chips will.

What if all my scraps can't fit into my bin?

Recently host a gathering at your place and have an overflowing bin? Don’t worry, we can collect your excess scraps, though we do need to make sure that our trucks have the capacity for those extra scraps. Please request an “overflow pickup” from the Shop in our Customer Portal. The overflow has a one-time fee of $5.00 that will be added to your cart for checkout.

After you have made the request, leave the extra compostable materials in a secured bin/bag (preferably compostable) right next to your Compost Crew collection bin the night before collection day. Please make sure this bin/bag is clearly labeled to help us keep our drivers safe and sure of what waste to throw into our trucks

Please Note: If you have overflow on a more regular basis, consider upgrading to a 12 gallon bin. That more than doubles your volume and allows you to avoid any overage pickup charges.

If I go on vacation or haven't filled my bin, can I temporarily suspend my service?

Of course! 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.

 

What should I do if my bin isn't emptied?

Still have a bin full of food scraps? Please make sure that your bin is free of contaminants like plastic or pet waste. If these contaminants are spotting in a bin, we will not empty it into our trucks for the safety of our drivers and our composting team. Help us make great compost by following our social media or our signing up for our quarterly newsletter.

To report a missed pick-up, log in to your account and select “Report Missed Pickup”. Our customer service team will work to make sure your scraps are picked up as soon as possible. Weather conditions and holidays may also affect our pick-up schedule. Keep up to date with schedule changes by following us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Can I purchase liners? My liner has ripped or gone missing!

When your liner is damaged or missing, there are a few routes to take. Simply drop those food scraps into the bin without a liner or use a paper bag from your last grocery shopping trip! Since our Compost Outposts cannot process the liners, these options will reduce drive time and emissions.

If you prefer using a commercially compostable liner, visit our Customer Portal to purchase a roll of caddy liners from our Shop. You can also purchase compostable liners from our partner, BioBag, or through Amazon.

Please Note: Make sure your compostable-ware and/or compostable liners are BPI-certified compostable: http://www.bpiworld.org/.

What do I do if my bin is damaged or lost?

If your bin is damaged or gets lost, simply email us at info@thecompostcrew.com and we’ll deliver you a new bin on available delivery route. A replacement fee to cover our costs may be assessed depending on the situation.

How do I keep my bin clean?

Freezing your scraps until the night before pick-up, wiping down your bins after pick-up and bringing out the hose to spray your bin down can help keep your bin clean and odor-free!

How do I get my complimentary compost?

When can I order my complimentary compost?

Complimentary compost orders can be made any time between February 1st and October 31st via your online portal shop.

How do I order my complimentary compost?

Make sure your account is opted in for complimentary compost. Hover over “Account & Billing” and click “Update Account Details”. From this page, you will be instructed to select an option from a drop down menu that asks, “Would you like to receive your complimentary finished compost?”. Make sure that, “Yes, I want compost” is selected, then click “submit”. Next, click on “SHOP”, add the complimentary compost bag for delivery to your cart, and click “checkout”. Click “Submit Order” and you’re done!

Why do I have to add a payment method?

We are managing the free compost distribution through the Shop on our portal.  While these products are free, access to the Shop requires that you have a stored payment method on the portal.  Your payment information is stored securely by Stripe. You will not be billed for anything until your next scheduled renewal.

Can I just  send an email to request my compost?

Compost orders are only available through the customer portal.  If you have not yet finished setting up your portal account, it takes just a few minutes.  Add your payment information to access the Shop.  If you encounter any issues getting set up or ordering your compost, please contact us at Compost@compostcrew.com and we will be happy to assist.

I did not receive my complimentary compost delivery. 

Our system shows estimated delivery dates based on current scheduling. However, estimated delivery dates are subject to change. If you are concerned you have not received your complimentary compost order, please reach out to us at info@compostcrew.com

Can I make special delivery instructions?

Complimentary compost will be placed curbside by default. If you need to make a request for special delivery instructions, please reach out to info@compostcrew.com when placing your order. 

How can I get extra compost?

Twice a year, we will host customer appreciation events which will include the opportunity to purchase extra compost for pickup. Stay tuned for updates on upcoming events by subscribing to our newsletter.

How do I refer a friend, a neighbor or even a stranger to Compost Crew?

By referring a neighbor, not only are you inviting them to divert their scraps from landfills, but you each get a $5 credit after they sign up. That’s right, give $5 and get $5!

Visit the Customer Portal and get your own unique referral code.

Seasonal

Weather conditions, holidays, pumpkins, merch and more!

What is your holiday schedule?

Check our our 2024 Holiday Schedule and download here. Please note that Please leave your bin out until collected.

Please Note: Your scheduled pickup day will be constant unless you hear differently directly from us via email. Weather-related changes will be emailed and posted on our Twitter, Instagram and/or Facebook

Can I compost my pumpkins?

Before you do, consider whether the pumpkin can still be used. Visit our blog to learn a few delicious pumpkin recipes, down to roasting seeds for a yummy fall treat!

Pumpkins can also be donated to local food recovery organizations in the area. If you can’t find a use for your pumpkin, you can always choose compost.

Please Note: 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. If your pumpkin(s) don’t fit inside of your Compost Crew bin, please visit the Customer Portal, scroll through our Shop, select the pumpkin pick up option and check out.

Do you have any cool merch?

Compost Crew has a variety of items that can be purchased in through Shop by visiting the Customer Portal. Stay tuned for new additions throughout the year!

Do you sell gift certificates?

There is no better way to help a friend or neighbor get started with composting than with an affordable, fuss-free curbside service with Compost Crew! You can even add it to your own wishlist by visiting customers.compostcrew.com/gift-certificates.

Still Have Questions?

No problem! Just shoot us an e-mail at info@compostcrew.com.

For compost related questions, contact compost@compostcrew.com

Questions related to the Customer Portal can be found on the Customer Portal FAQ page.