Organics Recycling with a Compost Pickup Service

Guest Blog from Ben Parry, CEO, Compost Crew

Composting mandates are gaining momentum with local governments across the United States. For example, this year the State of Maryland passed HB264, which requires organizations that are within 30 miles of a composting facility to divert their food scraps no later than January 2023. Similar to mandates passed in New Jersey and several other states, this bill focuses on large waste generators, initially those generating more than two tons a week, then expanding to those generating one ton or more in January 2024. (The RCC Mandatory Organics Recycling Fact Sheet has more information on state and local regulations.)
Even though bills like Maryland’s require local retailers to make changes in their waste disposal that may seem daunting at first, setting up a composting program can be done quickly and effectively, especially with the support of a partner with the right expertise.
For example, at Compost Crew we have worked with MOM’s Organic Market since 2019. MOM’s, which has 10 stores in Maryland, was an early adopter of composting because protecting the environment is a fundamental part of the company’s purpose. MOM’s not only composts their back of house scraps, but they also collect food scraps from their customers at their stores. As a result, the volume of food scraps they generate at their stores is larger than most.
MOM’s demonstrates that it can be straightforward to start a food scrap composting program, no matter the volume of waste you generate. In general, the main things a retailer needs to get started with composting is 1) a process to separate out organic waste into dedicated containers and 2) a pick-up location where the food waste is clearly set out separately from the trash for an organic waste hauler to collect. Businesses like Compost Crew can provide training for employees on the new procedures to make sure everyone is familiar with the new process. Compost Crew was able to help customers across a variety of industries including JBG SMITH, Medstar Health, Episcopal High School, and Brookfield Properties bring composting programs to their locations in just a couple of weeks.
Businesses that separate out food scraps realize multiple benefits. First, as the volume of trash goes down, businesses can reduce their trash bill by decreasing the size of their trash containers and reducing the frequency of trash pickups. Businesses also see improved employee and customer retention. One of our long-time clients, a property manager, noted that some clients have chosen to sign leases with them over competitors because of their composting program. In addition, businesses can use their food scrap diversion data in their annual sustainability reports. Some businesses even choose to receive finished compost made from their own food scraps to use in landscaping around their stores.
Although some prospective customers have concerns about composting based on preconceived notions about issues like odor and pests, these concerns are dispelled once they set up a system that works for their facility. The process of separating out food scraps from the regular waste stream requires a shift for people who are new to the world of composting. This being said, regardless of whether or not you compost your organic waste, everyone has to put their food scraps somewhere. In "traditional" garbage disposal, organic waste is stored alongside non-compostable garbage. This setup is smellier and can attract more pests than a compost bin with a strong latch. When food scraps are extracted from the rest of the waste stream, your business' trash decreases in quantity and becomes less stinky instantly!

Compost Crew has been recycling food scraps for over 10 years, and serves thousands of homes, businesses and local governments throughout the Greater Washington D.C. region.  We are based in Maryland, so anyone looking to comply with this new regulation can reach out to our team at for more information on how to comply. We are dedicated to working with organizations such as retail to eliminate food waste and build soil health.
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