Food Waste Collection Program

Do you live in Idlewild, Belair Townes II, Victoria Heights, Yorktown, Overbrook, Saddlebrook or Saddlebrook West? You can participate in our food waste collection program!


Did you know 20% of what you throw away is food waste? 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 free to participate in, and all participants will receive a 2-gallon scrap collection bin for their kitchen, a 6-gallon curbside bin for set out, and a courtesy set of 60 compostable bags from the City of Bowie Public Works Department. Food waste bins will be picked up on Wednesday mornings and a list of all acceptable items for pickup will be provided with your kit. The program currently has 145 participants and is expanding to allow up to 200. This is first come, first served, so sign up today by clicking on the link below if you would like to participate! 
Interested or need more information to make a decision? You may contact Ashleigh Armentrout at 301-809-3044 or aarmentrout@cityofbowie.org.

FAQS about the Food Waste Composting Pilot


What are the benefits of food waste composting?

 
  • Diverts waste from landfill: On average, participants collect about 8 pounds of food waste per week. With about 150 participants, the potential savings is up to 1,500 pounds of food scraps each week.
  • Reduces greenhouse gases: Food scraps in landfills emit more methane (a potent and harmful greenhouse gas) as they decompose. 
  • Creates nutrient rich compost called LeafGro that is sold locally in Prince George's and Montgomery Counties.
  • 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 starters. 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 grocery bags are not allowed for food waste collection.


How often will the curbside bin be emptied?

The curbside caddy 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. 

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

Yes! You may place your food waste curbside bin out weekly no matter how big or small your collection is that week. If you'd like, though, you may wait until the following 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. Used coffee grounds also help to neutralize odor.

Where does our collected food waste go?


Collected food waste will be taken to the Prince George's County Organics Composting Facility, which is expanding! Once completed, the expanded facility will be the largest yard trim and food waste composter on the East Coast. It currently operates with an eight-heap system processing 12,000 tons of yard trim and food scraps in 2016 and will expand to a 12-windrow SG Bunker™ System processing 57,000 tons.  Construction is expected to be complete by August 2018.

The County’s Organics Composting Facility is the only one in the State to accept residential, commercial and institutional food scraps and is the first in the County to pilot a food scrap composting program using the GORE® technology. The Facility produces a nutrient-rich soil compost product known as Leafgro and Leafro GOLD that eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers, adds nutrients back into the soil, increases root uptake and absorption in plants. It is sold commercially in bulk.

 

How will the City of Bowie keep in contact with participants?

We send monthly e-mails reporting on the status of the program, updating participants on the amount of food waste collected, and more!  If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact Ashleigh Armentrout at 301-809-3044 or aarmentrout@cityofbowie.org.