Ann Arbor's seasonal compost collection program runs between April and December each year. For 2016, seasonal compost collection will begin Monday, April 4 and go through Friday, Dec. 2, with weekly pickups (from paper yard waste bags, compost carts and bundled brush) on normal solid waste collection days.
Compost carts are an optional container are managed by the City of Ann Arbor. The carts are available for purchase and pickup at the City Hall Customer Service Center, 301 E. Huron Street. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you have questions, please contact the city's Customer Service Center, email@example.com or phone 734.794.6320.
- A compost cart is required if used for storing grass clippings, plate scrapings, fruit and vegetable scraps and leaves.
- Compost carts cost $25 and are available in 64 and 96-gallon sizes.
- Each additional cart costs $50 per year/per household.
- Paper yard waste bags and bundled brush may also be used for yard waste.
- Compost carts cost $25 and are available in 64 and 96-gallon sizes.
- Additional carts are $50 per household/per year.
- Coordinate payment from the Customer Service Center.
- Multi-family property managers may purchase and use compost carts for the seasonal collection program for eligible food waste items.
From plate to compost
To help you get your plate scrapings from the kitchen to the cart, compost cart owners qualify for a free 1.9 gallon kitchen composter. This attractive unit — designed to fit on an average kitchen countertop — allows composters to conveniently collect their plate scrapings without having to take dishes to the cart. The composter should be emptied on a regular basis into your compost cart and never placed at the curb. The unit is dishwasher safe, comes with an ergonomic handle, a vented lid, and has a locking lid designed not to pop open even if it falls from the counter.
If you would prefer to use a bag liner in your kitchen composter, BPI-certified compostable bags are allowed and available for $2 per box. Please do not use or place plastic bags in your kitchen composter or compost cart. If you don't own a compost cart, you may purchase them for $25 from the Customer Service Center located at Larcom City Hall, 301 E. Huron St. open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Acceptable compostable materials
- Plate scrapings (including meat and bones), fruits, vegetables and other food waste*
- Bamboo dinnerware*
- Grass clippings*
- Properly-contained leaves
- Garden pruning's, crab apples, garden surplus, etc.
- Unpainted, untreated lumber (cart lid must close)
- Undecorated and cut up Christmas trees
- Halloween pumpkins
- Tree branches up to 6 inches in diameter
- BPI certified compostable bags
*These items are only accepted in compost carts in order to avoid attracting wildlife, or creating odors and unsafe conditions of wet, overweight, broken bags at the curb. Items placed in compost carts do not need to be bagged or bundled.
Unacceptable compostable materials
Do not place the following items in compost carts or paper yard waste bags:
- Rocks, stones or gravel
- Branches over 6 inches in diameter or over 4 feet in length
- Painted wood
- Treated lumber
- Plastic bags or containers
- Kitty litter or dog waste
Ways to prepare compost for collection
Optional compost carts
The city sells optional carts for compost collection. The city accepts a wide range of materials inside compost carts: plate scrapings (including meat and bones), fruit and vegetable waste, paper napkins, uncoated paper plates, paper cups, leaves, and grass clippings. Compostables do not need to be bagged or bundled inside the cart.
To compost during the winter, place a layer of leaves (or newspapers/a pizza box) at the bottom of the cart and add coffee grounds, banana peels, etc. Periodically cover the vegetative food scraps with leaves or an inch of dirt to eliminate fruit flies and odors. Roll cart to the curb in April, when the compost season resumes for the growing season.
30-gallon paper bags
Place yard debris into large paper bags, available from local retailers. Each paper bag may weigh up to 50 pounds. Plastic bags are not accepted for storing compostables (plastic bags are acceptable for storing refuse inside of A2 Carts or dumpsters).
Brush and branches up to 6 inches in diameter and 4 feet long may be tied with natural twine into bundles up to 18 inches in diameter and 50 pounds per bundle.
Compost and mulch
Free compost or mulch for Ann Arbor residents, only, is available on Saturdays, beginning on April 16, 2016 from 8 a.m. to noon, while supplies last. Residents drive to the scale house at 4150 Platt Road and provide proof of Ann Arbor city residency — a recent water bill or driver's license. The scale house operator will then direct residents to the location of the free compost and mulch. Limit is 6 bushels (or 1 cubic yard) per household of compost, mulch, or any combination thereof per year. Residents must bring their own shovel and containers.
For sale: Bulk municipal compost and mulch are available for sale year round from the Ann Arbor Compost Center at 4150 Platt Road, Ann Arbor 48108, 734.489.4518, open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Compost Center is also open on spring Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon during April, May and June. Mechanically-loaded cured and screened municipal compost and mulch are sold for $18/cubic yard (plus tax), minimum two cubic yards per visit, while supplies are available. Customers may pay by check or credit card; no cash is accepted. Compost delivery is also available. For pricing and scheduling, please call Don Butynski with We Care Organics at 734.489.4518.
The Drop-Off Station (DOS) has compost, woodchip, and mulch for sale by the bushel and cubic yard at 2950 E. Ellsworth Road, 734.971.7400. Customers pay at the DOS gatehouse and proceed to the designated area for pick up. The DOS also provides, for a fee, delivery of compost, woodchip, and mulch.
The Drop-Off Station (DOS) is open three days per week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (non holidays). Cash, checks or credit cards are accepted at this location. The DOS entry fee is waived for customers only purchasing compost, woodchips or mulch.
Please call the DOS for current fees and prices or visit the DOS website.
- Use a BPI-certified bag to line your kitchen composter or cart.
- Line the bottom of your compost cart with shredded paper, newspaper, cardboard, or
- paper bags to absorb excess moistures, which causes odor.
- Sprinkle baking soda in your compost cart and in your kitchen composter.
- Store your compost cart in the shade during warm weather.
- Empty the contents of your kitchen composter into your compost cart frequently.
- Drain as much liquid as you can from food scraps before adding them to your compost.
- For extra-smelly food scraps: wrap in newspaper before placing in your composter/ cart or put in the freezer until collection day.
- Layer food scraps in between yard waste.
- Rinse out your kitchen composter and your compost cart before materials build up.
- Spray the inside of your cart with a vinegar and water solution.
CTN's FYI has prepared a short video segment
on the best ways to prevent and reduce odor in your compost cart and kitchen composter.