Food Waste Prevention

Food Waste Drop-Off Pilot Program

Nearly 1 million pounds of food waste goes to the Franklin County landfill every single day.

Food waste in the landfill generates potent methane gas — a powerful greenhouse gas that is a major contributor to climate change. Waste diversion is the most efficient way to reduce the amount of emissions generated by landfills, and to reduce demand for landfill space.

Reducing organic waste, specifically food waste, from entering the landfill is a major goal of the Columbus Climate Action Plan. The plan sets ambitious goas to achieve a 45% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050.

To help reach these goals and make it convenient for residents to compost food scraps, the city is launching a Food Waste Drop-Off Pilot Program with the help of a Community Waste Reduction Grant from the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO).

How to Participate

300 Columbus residents received a complimentary bucket to collect and transport your household food waste. If you missed out on a complimentary bucket, you may still participate using your own bucket to collect and drop off your food waste.

Buckets may be dumped at any time at the city's pilot food waste drop-off locations. An organics hauler will operate the program and maintain the disposal and collection carts.

The food scraps drop-off collection sites for Columbus residents' use are located at:

  • Bill McDonald Athletic Complex, 4990 Olentangy River Rd., 43214
  • Dodge Park and Community Center, 667 Sullivant Ave., 43215
  • Scioto Southland Park, 3901 Parsons Ave., 43207

Register here to participate and receive program updates, helpful tips, and more.

These items are acceptable for food waste collection and composting:

  • Fruits, vegetables, grains, beans
  • Pasta, baked goods
  • Coffee grounds, tea (no plastic tea bags)
  • Eggs, eggshells, dairy
  • Cooked meat, raw meat, bones, seafood, and shellfish in small quantities
  • Small amounts of oil or grease
  • Soiled non-coated paper/fiber products (napkins, paper)
  • ONLY "BPI certified compostable" plastic products (bin liners/bags, cutlery, containers)

No BPI certification = Not Compostable Look for the BPI logo on products.

Watch this video on why only BPI plastics are accepted.

These items are not compostable and cannot be accepted:

  • Non-BPI plastics (cups, cutlery, packaging, etc.)
  • Non-compostable packaging with metal, coated paper/fiber products
  • Human or pet waste
  • Electronics
  • Styrofoam
  • Personal health care products and pharmaceuticals
  • Rocks, stone and glass

If you are in doubt about an item, don't put it in your bucket for drop-off.

What is composting?

Composting is a natural process of recycling organic materials, such as food scraps and yard waste, into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. It helps reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills. The 2019 Waste Characterization Study in Central Ohio found that food scraps are the largest single materials we throw away. The City of Columbus would rather see these nutrients be composted and returned to the soil.

Visit SWACO's Save More Than Food program website for tips and resources to help you reduce food waste at home, work, and school. Get access to rebates for composting equipment, learn how to tell if your food has spoiled and how to keep food good for longer.

Composting and Food Waste Reduction (CFWR)

Columbus is requesting $400,000 from the USDA's Composting and Food Waste Reduction (CFWR) pilot project program to support a two-year, curb-side food-waste collection pilot project.

This funding will help Columbus build out its organic waste diversion infrastructure and education programs. In particular, this funding will provide Columbus residents an opportunity to participate in a curbside food waste collection subscription pilot program.

If funding is approved, this pilot program would provide curbside collection for up to 10,000 households, and it will help determine the feasibility and sustainability of expanded and/or citywide curbside food waste collection.

Grant Application Materials