Compost Drop-Off Program

Compost Drop-Off Program

In 2021, the City launched a one-year residential and commercial Compost Pilot Program to help reduce the amount of food waste being sent to landfills.

Composting is a sustainable alternative to disposing of food waste that turns the material into rich, healthy soil. Participants reported positive feedback on the program throughout the first year, and the Ferndale City Council approved the expansion of the program.

Links for registration can be found under each program heading. For additional questions, please contact the Zero Waste Program Coordinator at

Program Details

All collected food waste will be taken to a certified compost facility. Those interested in utilizing this service are encouraged to review the list of acceptable items below to minimize the amount of contamination. Click here to print your own copy of the acceptable materials to place near your food scraps container, or pick up an instructional sticker at the City Hall front desk.

Not all items are accepted into the compost program. View the list below to see what you can and cannot add to the compost bins.

Acceptable items (If it grows, it goes!): Fruits and vegetables, eggshells, raw and cooked meat or bones, dairy, baked goods, pasta, beans, coffee grounds and filters, fats and sugars, flowers, paper towels, napkins (unlined paper items, free of chemicals), and BPI Certified Materials (find out if your item is certified here)

Non-acceptable items: Yard waste, pet waste, plastic bags, glass, electronics, healthcare products, stone and metal, styrofoam, traditional plastics

Residential Program

Help the City turn your food into soil!

How To Participate

1. Register with the City

2. Collect food scraps in a container of your choice

3. Empty your container into green compost carts at one of the City’s locations

4. Bring your container home, rinse, and repeat

  • Tip: Empty your container regularly, especially in the summer months


Five residential drop-off locations are open daily from dawn to dusk. You can bring your container of organic material to any of these locations and place the contents of your food scraps into the bright green, 64-gallon carts. The drop-off area and containers are marked with instructions.

  • Geary Park Parking Lot(1198 Earle Blvd) SW Corner
  • Martin Road Park Parking Lot (1615 E Lewiston Ave) SW Parking lot
  • Wilson Park Parking Lot (1280 Hilton Rd)- SW Corner
  • Kulick Center Parking Lot (1201 Livernois St)  
  • Withington Parking Lot (159 Withington St)- SW Corner

Food waste may NOT be left around the containers. For this program to function properly, we must work together to keep these drop-off areas clean. If you arrive at a drop-off location and see a mess, please report the incident to SeeClickFix.

Want to stay in the loop? Subscribe to the City's e-newsletter to receive ongoing compost education and updates/ improvements to the program. We recommend it to everyone in the program! Click here to sign up.

Business Program

The City's Compost Pilot is looking for businesses that are interested in collecting and composting food waste. If you are a business owner or qualified employee and are interested in compost pick-up services, please register here and the City will reach out with information on how to sign up.

Participation in the program means your business will separate its food scraps into a 64-gallon compost cart, which is collected once per week at your business. To reduce your waste most effectively, businesses, especially restaurants, should compost both pre and post-consumer waste. This means both the scraps from cooking and the waste from customers’ meals. The City can provide educational materials/signage and training for staff to help introduce the program successfully.  

Types of Compost Waste:

  • Pre-Consumer (“Kitchen Waste”): This is due to overproduction, spoilage, expiration, trim waste, contamination, burned/dropped, and controlled by kitchen staff.
  • Post-Consumer (“Plate Waste”): This is due to behaviors, portion sizes, self-service, and controlled by guests.


For additional questions about the program, please contact the Zero Waste Program Coordinator at


Why should I compost?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated that in 2018, more food reached landfills and combustion facilities than any other single material in our everyday trash. To help reduce the amount of food waste being sent to landfills, the City of Ferndale has launched a Residential Organic Waste Drop-Off Program. Drop-off will begin November 3, 2021, and will run for one year. Any Ferndale Resident may participate by registering using the QR code on this postcard.

I registered for the compost pilot program. What happens now?

Those that receive the program materials after registration must complete the pre-program, six-month, and post-program surveys to provide the City with feedback about the pilot program. Residents are encouraged to use a lidded bucket to transport household food waste to the site. Residents may use any bucket/container they choose but must take the container home after dumping the contents.

What goes in my compost bucket?

It is important to only include the acceptable materials to be sure there is no contamination in the bins. Please view the list below to see what you can and cannot compost.

How can I reduce my amount of food waste?

In the US, an average person wastes 238 pounds of food per year (21% of the food they buy), costing them $1,800 per year. This estimate represents the single largest material in our everyday trash being sent to landfills and combustion facilities in the United States (per the EPA Sustainable Food Management page). To help reduce the amount of food being landfilled, it is important to reduce the food waste that is created. A great resource for examining your purchasing and food preparation habits is the Save the Food website.

What are BPI-certified materials?

BPI® is short for Biodegradable Products Institute. BPI® is a non-profit association that is the largest certification program for compostable products and packaging in North America established to provide testing, education, and promotion of compostable products. BPI® ensures that any product that carries its logo(see reverse side of this postcard for logo) meets the standard and specifications required to be compostable. Their goal is to promote best practices for the diversion and recovery of compostable materials through municipal and commercial composting.

You are allowed to line your bucket with a bag, however:

  • Bags MUST be BPI certified so they can break down properly with the organic waste
  • The bags must be labeled as “BPI CERTIFIED”, as not all biodegradable bags are accepted in this program
  • To find out what bags are BPI certified, visit the following link: and search by brand or product

Can I still compost without registering for the program?

Yes, residents should consider composting at their homes if they can. Composting at home is more sustainable than a drop-off or curbside program because it minimizes the need for transport. The City has educational resources to help residents begin composting here.

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