Single-Family Residential Food Scraps Recycling Collection Pilot

Food Scraps Recycling Pilot Program

The Montgomery County Recycling and Resource Management Division is continuing to run its single-family residential curbside food scraps recycling and composting pilot. This pilot program began in November of 2021 to demonstrate the feasibility of adding curbside food scraps collection for recycling as part of Montgomery County's curbside recycling collection program for single-family homes.

This program consists of three pilot areas. Two of the pilot areas are located in portions of Subdistrict A—a part of Silver Spring and a part of Bethesda/Rockville—and one is located in a portion of Subdistrict B in a part of Potomac. 
 
Weekly curbside food scraps recycling collection is provided to all three pilot areas on their normally designated County-provided recycling collection day. Normal food scraps recycling collection days are as follows:
  • Bethesda/Rockville pilot area: Monday
  • Potomac pilot area: Tuesday
  • Silver Spring pilot area: Thursday

If you live in any of the designated areas, do not already separate your food scraps for recycling and pay for a private food scraps collection service, and are interested in participating in this pilot, you are eligible to sign up to participate. Click on the link below to see if you reside in one of the four pilot areas.

We are still recruiting additional participants!

We continue to recruit single-family residents in all three of the pilot areas who are interested in volunteering to participate in this exciting pilot program. Once we reach our limit of 850 participants in each pilot area, registration will be closed for that area.

Do you reside in a pilot area? Look Up Address and Register

Look up your address and register.

Residential Pilot Map

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How will the pilot program work?

Food Scraps Pilot Program Kit

Single-family households within the designated pilot program areas that register to volunteer will receive a food scraps recycling kit that includes the following items:
  • One 35-gallon green wheeled cart with a locking lid for food scraps for curbside recycling collection.
  • One 2-gallon in-kitchen/countertop food scraps collection bin for storing your food scraps until you are ready to place the food scraps in the 35-gallon green food scraps recycling wheeled cart.
  • Two boxes of compostable bag liners for your in-kitchen bin.
  • An instructional brochure on the food scraps recycling pilot program, a refrigerator magnet, and a laminated card that includes a list of acceptable and unacceptable materials.
 
The food scraps recycling kit will be delivered to your house. Once you receive your cart and starter kit, you can begin participating in the pilot program immediately.
 
Pilot participants must put the food scraps recycling cart at the curb by 7:00 a.m. on your designated recycling collection day. Your food scraps recycling collection day will be the same as your normal County-provided recycling day, including the weeks where County-provided recycling collection service slides due to a designated holiday, or in the event of severe inclement weather that prevents the County’s collector from safely collecting. The Recycling and Resource Management Division will send email notifications if there is any change to your food scraps recycling collection schedule.
 

Missed Food Scraps Recycling Collections

If your food scraps recycling collection cart does not get serviced by 5:00 p.m. on your regular food scraps recycling collection day, please immediately send an email with "Missed Collection" in the subject line to ResidentialFoodScrapsPilot@MontgomeryCountyMD.gov to report the missed food scraps recycling collection. Include your street address in the body of the message. Leave your cart at the curb and we will arrange for our collector to service your cart the next day.

 

How will I recycle my food scraps?

  1. Place the compostable bag in the in-kitchen bin.
  2. Separate your food scraps from other waste for recycling by placing the food scraps in the in-kitchen bin (or any other temporary storage container of your own that you prefer to use).
  3. When full, tie the compostable bag of food scraps closed and place the bag of food scraps into the 35-gallon green wheeled food scraps recycling cart.
  4. On your designated County-provided curbside recycling collection day, place the 35-gallon green food scraps recycling wheeled cart at the curb by 7:00 a.m. Our dedicated food scraps recycling collection truck will empty your cart and take your food scraps to the composting facility.
  5. Place only acceptable food scraps or other acceptable organic materials into the 35-gallon food scraps recycling wheeled cart. Please DO NOT place yard trim (grass, leaves, branches, or garden trimmings) or any other materials in the green food scraps recycling cart.
Collected food scraps will be transported to a composting facility, where they will be recycled and processed into a nutrient rich soil amendment for use to improve soil structure.
 

What goes in my bin?

 

What are the benefits of recycling food scraps?

Montgomery County has a goal to reduce waste and recycle more while aiming for zero waste. Approximately 47,500 tons of food scraps are disposed annually by single-family residents (based on Montgomery County’s 2023 Waste Composition Study). Separating food scraps from the trash and recycling it instead allows us to capture valuable nutrients and organic matter in these materials, use them to create compost, and return them to our gardens and lawns as a valuable soil amendment. Using compost:
  • Promotes plant health by providing valuable nutrients
  • Reduces the need for chemical fertilizer
  • Loosens and aerates the soil
  • Reduces runoff and the frequency of needed watering by helping the soil retain moisture

By removing these materials from the waste stream and recycling them into a useful product, we can reduce the amount of waste processed at our Resource Recovery Facility (RRF) and reduce our carbon footprint.

Recycling food scraps also reduces the need to use garbage disposals to dispose of food scraps. When you use a garbage disposal to dispose of unwanted food, excess nutrients are sent to the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) wastewater treatment plants.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Montgomery County’s Single-Family Residential Food Scraps Recycling Collection Pilot (FAQs)

 

Contact Us

Email  ResidentialFoodScrapsPilot@MontgomeryCountyMD.gov or call 240-777-6446.