Food Waste Collection Pilot Program


If you live in Overbrook, Saddlebrook East, Victoria Heights, or Yorktown you could be one of first households in Bowie  to participate in a new food waste collection program! 

Did you know 20% of what you throw away is food waste? That really adds up in a landfill, but food scraps, meat, and bones can all be used instead at the County Yard Waste Facility to create compost, a soil-like product that it nutritious for plants. Also, the process of turning food waste into compost helps the environment by reducing methane emissions and is less expensive than sending food waste to a landfill.

FoodwasteThe Food Waste Collection Program is a free 6-month pilot, and all participants will receive a small food scrap collection bin for their kitchen, a curbside bin (6 gallons), and a set of 60 compostable bags from the City of Bowie Public Works Department. Food waste will be picked up on Wednesdays (starting on April 19th and ending around October 18th) and a list of all acceptable items for pickup will be provided with your bin before April 19th. If you would like to help get this program started, sign up by clicking on the link below. The program is limited to the first 150 households that sign up. We currently have 88 participants and are looking for more volunteers.

Interested or need more information to make a decision? You may contact Ashleigh Armentrout at 301-809-3044 or

FAQS about the Food Waste Composting Pilot

What are the benefits of food waste composting?

  • Diverts waste from landfill: On average, participants collect 8 - 10 pounds of food waste per week. With 150 total participants, the potential savings is up to 1,500 pounds of food scraps each week for this pilot program.
  • Reduces greenhouse gases: Food scraps in landfills emit more methane (a potent and harmful greenhouse gas) as they decompose. 
  • Creates nutrient rich compost that can be sold to local farmers or gardeners.
  • Saves money: It costs less money per ton to send food scraps to the Organics Composting Facility than to the landfill. 
What bags can I use?
You will be provided with 60 compostable liners to use for the duration of the 6-month pilot phase. If you would like to purchase more or try a different brand, many retailers including Target, Walmart, Home Depot and Lowe’s carry these bags. For a complete list of accepted bags, please visit this link: Where to Purchase Compostable Bags. Only specified compostable bags can be used for food waste collection. Plastic bags are not allowed for food waste collection.

What if I rely on my garbage disposal?

Using a garbage disposal can lead to clogs and backups in your pipes. Disposals also send nutrients that are expensive to treat to the water reclamation facility, whereas composting food scraps can be used to make nutrient rich soil.

How often will the curbside bin be emptied?

The cart will be emptied once a week, every Wednesday. Please have your 6-gallon bin outside by 7 a.m. on Wednesday but no earlier than 5 p.m. on Tuesday. To avoid odors, you should empty your kitchen caddy by placing the liner in your curbside bin every few days. 

How do I set out my curbside bin for collection?

Place your food waste bin outside by 7 a.m. every Wednesday but no earlier than 5 p.m. on Tuesday. Please have your bin visible, within 3 feet of the curb in front of your home, with the logo of the bin facing the street, and handle in the upright, locked position. Plastic bags are not allowed in food waste containers; only approved compostable bags will be accepted.

Where should I store my curbside bin? 

The bin should be stored in an enclosed structure or at the rear or side of your home so it is not visible from the public right of way in front of your home. You will need to bring your emptied bin to its original location prior to 10 p.m. on Wednesdays after pick up.

I didn’t collect much food scraps this week. Should I still put my bin outside?

Yes! Please place your food waste curbside bin out weekly no matter how big or small your collection is that week. 

Will my bin smell or attract pests?

The curbside bins are equipped with a lock to keep pests out and eliminate odors. To avoid a strong odor, add a few paper products on the bottom of the bin to absorb moisture. Be sure to place all waste materials in compostable bags and routinely empty kitchen caddy every few days.

Where does our collected food waste go?

Collected food waste will be taken to the Prince George's County Organics Composting Facility. 

How will the City of Bowie keep in contact over the duration of pilot?

Never fear! We will be sending bi-weekly emails on tips to creating a successful pilot collection, updating participants on the amount of food waste collected, and more! We will also be sending out a short survey in the first few months of the pilot program and a survey at the conclusion of the pilot. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact Ashleigh Armentrout at 301-809-3044 or