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Winter Composting Program Resumes for 2023

Archived News Release: November 21, 2022 - ​The City of Ann Arbor will once again offer winter pickup of food scraps in compost carts in 2023. Regular weekly compost collections for 2022 will end Dec. 9, 2022, with monthly winter pickups of food scraps in compost carts occurring the first full week of each month in 2023, January through March, specifically, the weeks of Jan. 2, Feb. 6 and March 6.

Last year's program offered many lessons in winter composting, including that food, leaves and other material can easily freeze to the inside of a cart making it unserviceable. With that in mind, please note the following guidance to help mitigate this issue:

  • Drain as much liquid as possible from food scraps.
  • Place an opened paper yard-waste bag inside the compost cart to hold the food scraps. 
  • Put pieces of flattened cardboard (one–two large pizza boxes are perfect) at the bottom of the compost cart before adding produce. This buffer at the bottom of the cart allows the materials to slide out more easily and not freeze to the cart.
  • Place materials in a BPI certified or CMA-W certified bag and into your compost cart. It is advised that food scraps be double bagged during the winter, using both a BPI or CMA-W certified and paper yard bag. 
  • To keep the compost cart from getting messy, wrap drippy wet items (e.g., coffee grounds, melon rinds) in one–two sheets of compostable paper towels before putting into the compost cart.
  • Loose leaves can be left on the ground. They return nutrients to trees as well as provide cover for overwintering creatures including lightening bugs/Fireflies. Loose leaves can freeze to the cart, which may cause it to fall into the truck while tipping. If this happens, please contact city customer service to request a new cart.  
  • The city does not pick up leaves left in piles at the curb or raked into the street. In addition, it is illegal for residents or contractors to move leaves from private property into the street or onto another property, including city parks.
  • If material is frozen to the cart when the city attempts service, it won't be serviced again until following month during the first full week of the month.
  • Use bungee cords to thwart clever raccoons; remember to remove them at the curb. 
  • Rinse out carts, if temperatures allow, with non-toxic soap and water and empty onto your grass or gravel, never down the storm drain.  

Residents who do not have a compost cart can obtain one for free by contacting the city's customer service center at 734.794.6320 or [email protected]. For more information on this program, visit   
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Media Contact Information

Robert Kellar
Communications Specialist
734.794.6000 x41524
[email protected]

Ann Arbor has 123,851 residents, spans 28.97 square miles and is frequently recognized as a foremost place to live, learn, work, thrive and visit. To keep up with City of Ann Arbor information, subscribe for email updates, and follow the city on Twitter and Facebook. The city's mission is to deliver exceptional services that sustain and enhance a vibrant, safe and diverse community.