How Do Compost Pickup Services Work — and How Much Do They Cost?

by Team HomeServe
Close Up Of Woman Making Compost From Vegetable Leftovers In Kitchen

Environmentally conscious homeowners have long turned their kitchen spoils into garden soil by composting. Nowadays, compost pickup services make this process even easier. Many of these companies pick up compostable food waste from homes and businesses to keep it from going to landfills. Food waste, also called organic material, is composted and turned into soil that can be used to grow more food.

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Compost pickup services are great for those who care about the environment. If you’re wondering how to have your compostable waste whisked away (and how much that costs), read on.

How Do Compost Pickup Services Work?

Whether you use a private compost company or city compost services provided by your municipality, all pickup services work similarly. You’re provided with a bin to fill with scrap food and acceptable paper products. Bins may be small 4- or 5-gallon buckets suitable for individuals who don’t produce much waste or larger 13-gallon containers for families with lots of waste. You usually put your bin out once a week for curbside pickup.

What Can I Compost?

Not sure what can be composted? As far as pickup services are concerned, you'll probably only put food scraps in your compost bin. Most services will give you a list of what you can and cannot chuck in the bin, and these are some of the most common items:

  • Fruits and vegetables, including peels
  • Eggshells
  • Nutshells
  • Coffee grounds, filters and paper tea bags
  • Herbs and spices
  • Grass clippings
  • Leaves and other yard trimmings

Non-glossy paper can also be composted, such as paper towels, napkins, muffin liners and certified compostable tableware. However, there are several things you shouldn’t put in your compost bin, including:

  • Foil
  • Plastic
  • Styrofoam
  • Glass
  • Metal
  • Chemical-soaked paper
  • Pet or human waste
  • Animal products: dairy, meat, eggs, seafood, bones

How Much Does It Cost to Have Compost Picked Up?

Fees for compost pickup services greatly vary. Some towns fund compost collection services, so citizens don’t pay a fee. According to The Spruce, rates for private companies run anywhere from $19 to $60 (CAD 25 to CAD 80) per month for weekly pickups, depending on the service you go with. However, they may offer discounted rates to neighborhoods or buildings with lots of subscribers. Ask service providers for a quote and whether they offer any discounts before signing up.

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How Do I Find Compost Pickup Services in My Area?

It’s usually not difficult to find compost pickup services near you — if it's available. Composting waste isn’t a new concept, but it hasn't caught on everywhere. Start by asking your city’s solid waste disposal department if it provides compost services or knows who does. Local recycling services may know about compost programs. Compost Now posts a list of providers by state, or you can use your favorite search engine to find compost pickup services in your area.

Does Composting Save Money?

Municipalities that save money on their trash tipping fees may pass those savings onto their customers. Even if composting doesn't save you money on trash services, you may get some value out of the fact that it’s an environmentally friendly practice. If you’re a backyard gardener, many compost pickup services furnish you with a bag of finished compost to replenish your soil with nutrient-rich goodness. Compost services usually offer this bag in time for spring planting.

All CAD conversions are based on the exchange rate on the date of publication.