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?

For a comprehensive list, click here.  We also have a translated the list into Spanish.

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! See our Service Agreement for more detailed information.

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.

Why not use the garbage disposal?

Composting is better than using a garbage disposal for two reasons:

  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.

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 curbside or nearby where it is visible and accessible from the street, and we’ll come get it on your pick-up day.

Where do our compostables and food scraps go?

We are proud to bring our food scraps to the PG County Organics Composting Facility owned by Prince George’s County and operated by Maryland Environmental Services. More information can be found here: https://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/583/Yard-Waste-Composting-Facility

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. 

For more information about COVID-19 and other precautions you can take, please refer to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The World Health Organization.

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 products@thecompostcrew.com with what and how many of each you would like, and we’ll process your order.

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. Tie the compostable liner in the bin for the driver to collect. 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 service@thecompostcrew.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.


2020 Holiday Schedule – We will be closed on the following days:

  • Monday, October 12 – Indigenous Peoples’ Day / Columbus Day
    • All Monday routes moved to previous Saturday, October 10
    • No changes to other routes
  • Tuesday, November 3 – Election Day
    • All Tuesday routes will be moved to the previous Saturday, October 31st (residential and commercial)
    • No changes to other routes
  • Wednesday, November 11 – Veteran’s Day
    • All Wednesday routes moved to the following Saturday, November 14
    • No changes to other routes
  • Thursday, November 26 – Thanksgiving
    • All Thursday routes moved to following Saturday, November 28
    • No changes to other routes
  • Friday, December 25 – Christmas Day
    • All Friday routes will be moved to the following Saturday, December 26
    • No changes to other routes
  • Friday, January 1, 2021 – New Year’s Day
    • All Friday routes moved to the following Saturday, January 2
    • No changes to other routes

What should I do if I have excess compost that won’t fit in my bin?

We’re happy to take the occasional overflow from parties and other events. Just make sure to leave everything in a secured bin and/or bag (preferably compostable) right next to your Compost Crew collection bin, clearly labeled to make sure our driver knows to take it.

If you have overflow on a more regular basis (more than once every other month), we ask that you upgrade to a 12 gallon bin for only $4/month extra.

I Still Have More Questions.

No problem! Just shoot us an e-mail at info@compostcrew.com or call (301) 202-4450