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Food Waste Drop-Off

Food Waste Drop-Off Winter Season Operations

The Department of Public Works (DPW) is pleased to announce that there will now be three locations open throughout the winter season for residents to bring their food waste to be composted. The food waste drop-off locations at Columbia Heights, Dupont Circle, and Eastern Market will now be open year-round.

On Earth Day 2017, Mayor Bowser kicked off the Department of Public Works (DPW)'s first citywide Food Waste Drop-Off program.  Through the free service, residents are able to drop off food waste at designated farmers' markets in all eight city wards. The food waste collected at these drop-off locations is composted locally at District community composting sites and at the Prince George's County Organics Compost facility.

DPW will re-launch the food waste drop-off program for all wards in conjunction with the opening of the farmers' market season in May 2018.

Where Can I Participate?

Drop-off Day
Columbia Heights
14th and Kenyon Streets, NW
Dupont Circle Farmers' Market
1500 20th Street, NW
Eastern Market
635 North Carolina Avenue, SE


Complete List of Items Accepted in the Food Waste Drop-Off Program

Materials Accepted
Materials Not Accepted
  • Fruit, vegetable scraps, and salad
  • Coffee grounds, paper tea bags, and loose tea
  • Bread, grains, cereals, rice, and pasta
  • Egg shells
  • Nutshells
  • Corncobs
  • Stale beans, flour, and spices
  • Cut or dried flowers
  • Milk, cheese, or other dairy products
  • Meat or Fish scraps and bones
  • Fats, grease, oil, or oily foods
  • Plastic bags, wraps or film
  • Coated or Uncoated Paper and Cardboard (Paper bags, plates, bowls)
  • Non-compostable materials like plastic, metals, foil, glass, or styrofoam
  • Pet refuse
  • Diseased or insect-infested houseplants and soil
  • Biodegradable or compostable plastics & packaging


How to Bring Your Food Waste to the Market

Acceptable food scraps and organic materials can be collected in covered plastic containers, paper or plastic bags. Please keep in mind that plastic bags are NOT recyclable and ends up in the trash. We recommend rinsing plastic containers holding the food waste within each use and lining the bottom with shredded newspapers for odor control. Another tip in controlling odors over the week is to consider storing your food scraps contained in either a sealed bag or plastic container in the freezer or refrigerator.


Can Businesses Drop-off Materials to Compost?

No. Commercial food scraps are not accepted as the program is available strictly to District residents. Businesses should contact a local hauler who can handle commercial organic waste.

How Else Can I Get Involved in Composting?

To learn how else you can get involved in composting, visit the Zero Waste DC website by clicking here.

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