PGC Composts Program
PGC Composts Program
1. Why is the County offering a Curbside Organics Composting Program, and why should I participate?
Collecting food scraps, food-soiled paper, and yard trimmings at the curb will help keep valuable materials that are not waste out of our landfill, reduce excessive methane greenhouse gas emissions, protect our environment, and help Prince George’s County get closer to our zero waste goals. Composting also creates a nutrient-rich soil amendment that improves soil health and function.
2. How can I participate?
All residents who receive County provided trash curbside collection service will have a compost cart delivered to their residency by the end of 2023. Please look inside of the compost cart for the smaller sized kitchen pail. The pail contains the compost program guidelines, educational materials and a refrigerator magnet listing the acceptable organics items for composting. Plastic bags are not accepted in the compost program. Paper yard bags may be used, if the paper yard bag is placed inside of the compost cart. Please never place food scraps in paper bags outside of the compost cart. BPI certified compostable bags are acceptable and may be used. However, it is recommended to “keep it loose” and not necessarily use a paper or compostable bag. To help keep the cart clean, layering paper napkins, paper towels, food soiled pizza boxes, leaves and or grass and food scraps is recommended. Layering the material helps absorb potential wetness from the food scraps. And, of course, rinsing out the cart with a garden hose will help keep the cart clean for continued use.
3. What can I compost?
There are a variety of materials that can be composted, including yard trim, leaves, grass and brush, and food. A few examples of food items include fruits and vegetables, cooked meats, leftovers, bones, eggs and eggshells, dairy (no liquids), seafood and shellfish, baked goods, coffee filters and grounds, tea bags and loose tea leaves, soiled paper napkins and pizza boxes. Visit mypgc.us/compost to view a list of unacceptable items.
4. How do I compost my food scraps?
The kitchen pail is provided to help with placing food scraps directly into the pail from the kitchen, for incorporation into the larger exterior compost cart. Throughout the week and as needed, empty the kitchen pail contents directly into the compost cart and place the cart at the curb by 6 a.m. on Monday for collection. Please ensure your compost cart is visible and accessible from the curb. The County recommends participants layer yard trim, paper towels, paper napkins and food soiled pizza boxes in-between the layers of food scraps. The paper products and yard trim will help absorb any potential liquid or wetness from the food material. 3-gallon BPI certified compostable liners for the kitchen pail are also available on-line and or at local retail stores. Compostable bags are available at stores and must be labeled as either "home compostable" or "commercially/industrially compostable." A list of tested and approved liners is available online at mypgc.us/compost. Plastic bags are not acceptable and are detrimental to the success of the composting program. Hence, material placed in plastic bags will not be collected.
5. Can I compost leftover cooking grease and oil?
We do not accept fats, oils, and leftover grease in the composting program. These items can be recycled at the County’s Household Hazardous Waste Acceptance Site located at the Brown Station Road Sanitary Landfill, 11611 White House Road, Upper Marlboro, MD 20774. The facility is open on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday only from 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
6. What happens to my organic materials (food scraps and yard trim) once they are collected?
All organic materials are transported to the Prince George’s County Organics Composting Facility for processing. Materials are placed into the GORE cover bunker wall system to decompose and transformed into a rich soil amendment, marketed, and sold in bulk as Leafgro GOLD®. The sale of the finished compost helps offset the cost of the composting program.
7. How is the Curbside Organics Composting Program different from backyard composting?
The County’s program accepts additional materials such as meat, dairy and bones that are not generally recommended in or suitable for backyard composting. However, residents are still encouraged to do backyard composting as a source reduction effort and to return the finished compost into their gardens and flower beds, where appropriate.
8. How do I control odors?
You can help prevent odors by rinsing out the kitchen pail and hosing out the compost cart after each collection, when necessary. Layering paper napkins, paper towels, food soiled pizza boxes and yard trim in-between food scraps also helps reduce odors as the paper products and yard trim will absorb any potential liquids. Sprinkling a little bit of baking soda or baking powder within the cart or directly on top of the food scrap layer also helps eliminate or reduce odors. Participants can also place food scrap materials in a BPI certified compostable liner bag and keep it in the refrigerator or freezer before placing in the exterior compost cart prior to collection on Monday morning.