Starting Monday, Baltimoreans will have several new places to drop off food scraps for composting, according to the city’s Department of Public Works.
Food scraps were already accepted at two city farmer’s markets — one under the Jones Falls Expressway on Sunday mornings and another at 32nd Street and Barclay Street on Saturday mornings.
But now, residents can also drop off food waste at five city landfill and trash collection sites — the Quarantine Road Landfill, the Western Sanitation Yard, the Eastern Sanitation Yard, the Sisson Street Drop-Off Center and the Northwest Transfer Station. Each center is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., although some have additional hours.
They’ll accept fruits, vegetables, egg shells, gourds, grains, bread, pasta, coffee grounds and tea bags (so long as tags and staples have been removed). Dairy, meat, oils, paper products, produce stickers and compostable bags and table ware won’t be accepted.
The pilot program, funded by a grant from the Natural Resources Defense Council, will last for three to four months depending on participation, according to the city’s Department of Public Works.
Maryland-based hauler Compost Crew will transport the waste from the five drop-off centers to the Prince George’s County Organics Composting Facility.
Food scraps make up about a quarter of Baltimore’s waste, according to a survey conducted by city officials in January 2019. When these scraps decay in landfills, they emit large amounts of methane, a potent climate-change causing gas. Composting not only reduces this output, but redirects waste to be used as fertilizer.
“This pilot program is essential and necessary to propel Baltimore towards a path of zero waste,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott in a statement. “Creating innovative sustainability practices for Baltimoreans today will pave the way for a greener and healthier tomorrow.”