Curbside Compost Service Possible in Athens

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Athens residents may have another bin they could roll to curbside on trash day. Rural Action and the city of Athens are proposing a composting program. It would allow Athens residents to have their compostable waste collected along with their trash and recycling every week.


But First- What IS Compost? It starts with all the food scraps that aren’t eaten. They are scraped off plates and instead of being thrown away they are are separated from trash and recycling. Next the food is mixed with yard clippings and water in a bin. After that the food needs time to break down to turn into soil. That can take 1 to 3 months depending on how much soil you want to produce. Finally, the nutrient rich soil is added to a garden or yard to help vegetables and flowers grow.

Meg Little is an Athens resident who composts her food waste to make nutrient dense soil for her garden. Little says composting has a positive environmental impact if done correctly.

Meg Little tending to her compost pile

“It’s really great because it diverts all that food waste from going into a landfill,” Little said. “So much of our landfills are full of food waste and you can actually utilize that to make something better.”

Composting can not only lower one’s environmental impact by reducing the amount of methane that is emitted into the atmosphere, it also encourages the production of beneficial bacteria and fungi that break down organic matter to create humus, a rich nutrient-filled material. This bacteria allows plants to grow without adding chemical herbicides and pesticides  that could contribute to runoff pollution.

More Athens residents may have the opportunity to lower their own carbon footprints by composting if this curbside compost service is approved.

Food scraps collected in a compost bin

Andrea Reany from Rural Action says if the proposal is approved, Athens-Hocking Recycling Centers will collect compost from 200 to 300 families starting in August. This service will also help Athens reach it’s “Zero Waste Goal”.  

 “The city of Athens has recently adapted their Sustainability Action Plan and in it it says that by 2020 the city will have started composting 50% of its organic waste and right now only a small percentage of that is being composted.”

The compost will be collected for a six month trial period and picked up the same day as trash and recycling.

Once the compost is collected from the curbside, it will be sent to the Athens Hocking Recycling Centers where it will be processed into mulch or fertilizer for people to buy for their yards,flower beds, or gardens.

Compost piles at Athens Hocking Recycling Center

If the trial goes well, the program will be fully launched next March and Athens will be the 2nd city in Ohio to have a curbside compost service.

Although Athens is just one city, many other cities around the world are implementing compost pickup programs in order to reduce the amount of global waste and pollution our planet endures.