City of Gaithersburg Expands its Food Waste Composting Program with Second Drop-off Site

by Patrick Herron

City of Gaithersburg Expands its Food Waste Composting Program with Second Drop-off Site

Per the City of Gaithersburg:

The City announces the opening of a second food waste drop-off site, this one at Casey Community Center, 810 S. Frederick Ave., one block north of Shady Grove Rd. Residents are encouraged to separate food waste from regular trash & drop off the food scraps at one of our two locations. Once a week, a private contractor collects the scraps & takes them to a farm to be composted.

In 2018, the Department of Public Works launched a pilot project to offer residents a convenient & sustainable way to reduce food waste with a compost drop-off site at 800 Rabbitt Road, next to the Oil & Antifreeze Recycling Area. In the last 12 months, the Rabbitt Road drop-off site has diverted more than 41,000 pounds of food waste from the landfill.

Casey Community Center was chosen as the second drop-off location because it is easily accessible from Route 355 & it aligns well with the many activities Casey has to offer, including the popular Thursday Farmers Market & Let’s Cook @ Casey food & nutrition programming. Both sites are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service is free of charge.

With the growing interest in composting, the City will continue to explore additional locations for food waste drop-off sites & expand our programs into areas that are convenient to all residents.

Compost is an important sustainable practice. Removing food waste from the trash stream reduces methane (a greenhouse gas emission associated with organic matter) in the landfill & instead creates organic material that provides many essential nutrients for plant growth. This helps strengthen the soil structure & limits the need for fertilizer, which can damage streams & rivers during run off. Waste does not naturally exist in nature. Managing our food waste locally is an essential part of a sustainable future.

Acceptable items for composting include:

  • Fruit & vegetable scraps
  • Pasta, bread, cereal
  • Egg shells
  • Meat & dairy
  • Bones
  • Coffee grounds, filters, & tea bags
  • Paper towels & paper towel rolls
  • Soiled paper food packaging
  • Pizza boxes
  • Flour & sugar bags
  • Paper plates
  • Natural corks
  • Baking ingredients, herbs, spices
  • Household plants including soil
  • Items labeled BPI Certified Compostable
  • Items labeled ASTM D6868 or D6400

DO NOT compost:

  • PLASTIC (unless labeled compostable)
  • Styrofoam meat trays
  • Aluminum foil
  • Candles, synthetic corks & gum
  • Dental floss & Q-tips
  • Dryer lint sheets
  • Disposable mop sheets
  • Vacuum cleaner bags
  • Hair, pet fur, pet waste
  • Dead animals (such as pets, roadkill, caught)
  • Fireplace or BBQ ashes
  • Recyclable materials
  • Items labeled biodegradable or Oxo-Biodegradable

Only place acceptable food waste into the community compost bin. Compostable liners containing food items are allowed in the bin. To find out how to best manage your waste, please use the City’s “What Goes Where” tool, available for free via the Recycle Coach App.

For more information please contact the Department of Public Works at 301-258-6370 or e-mail


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