Ann Arbor's seasonal curbside compost collection program for 2017 begins on Monday, April 3 with weekly pickups (from paper yard waste bags, compost carts and bundled brush) on normal solid waste collection days.
Curbside compost collection ends for the season on Friday, December 8, 2017.
Compost carts are an optional container 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, 1st floor. Hours are Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. If you have questions, please contact the city's Customer Service Center via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 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.
*Carts must not exceed 224 pounds for the 64-gallon, 112 pounds for the 32-gallon or 336 pounds for the 96-gallon size. Carts over the limit will not be serviced.
- Compost carts cost $25 and are available in 64 and 96-gallon sizes.
- Additional carts are $50 per household/per year.
- Payments can be coordinated via the Customer Service Center.
- Multi-family property managers may purchase and use compost carts for the seasonal collection program for eligible food waste items.
Acceptable Compost 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 Compost 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. Compostable material does 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 in large paper bags, available from local retailers. Each paper bag may weigh up to 50 pounds. Plastic bags are not accepted for storing compostable material.
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.
Yard waste drop off is available at the City of Ann Arbor Compost Center located at 4150 Platt Road, open Monday thru Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In order to drop off yard waste, a valid City of Ann Arbor driver’s license or recent water bill is required. The yard waste limit per day is 6 bushels (1 cubic yard) per household. Residents must visit the scalehouse at the Materials Recovery Facility before and after dropping off their yard waste in order to verify material weights. A map is attached with this letter for reference.
City landlords, owners of multiple single-family properties and businesses are not eligible for the residential yard waste drop off program. These entities, for a fee, may drop off yard waste at the City of Ann Arbor Compost Center or the Recycle Ann Arbor Drop-Off Station.
Compost and Mulch
Free compost or mulch: Apr. 15 - July 4 or while supplies last (Saturday's only). 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.
*Ann Arbor's compost facility is an active operation and therefore not open to public tours.
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, 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 734.477.0334.
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.
Tips to Stem Odor
- Use a BPI-certified bag to line kitchen composter or cart.
- Line the bottom of compost cart with shredded paper, newspaper, cardboard, or paper bags to absorb excess moistures, which causes odor.
- Sprinkle baking soda in compost containers.
- Store compost cart in the shade during warm weather.
- Empty the contents of kitchen composter frequently.
- Drain as much liquid as possible from food scraps before adding them to compost.
- For extra-smelly food scraps: wrap in newspaper before placing in composter/cart or put in the freezer until collection day.
- Layer food scraps in between yard waste.
- Rinse out kitchen composter or compost cart before materials build up.
- Spray the inside of cart with a vinegar and water solution.
CTN's FYI has a short video
on best practices to prevent and reduce odor in compost carts and kitchen composters.