Whether you’re making or buying it, compost is an essential to growing our food and saving our planet.  Below is a list of different places and resources to get finished compost or to help make compost.  But always remember before composting food, see if you can do anything higher on the EPA Food Recovery Hierarchy.  Learn more about the different levels of food waste/recovery at the DC Food Recovery Working Group.

Table of Contents

Finished Compost

Buying Compost

Places to Pickup Free Compost

Map of all Finished Compost (bulk/bagged) Sites

Making Compost

Food Waste Pick Up Services

Places to Drop Off Food Waste to be Composted

Carbon Recovery for Composting

Learn How to Compost

Buying Compost

Bulk Deliveries of Compost

Behnke Nurseries

DC Water Biosolids Program: Bloom

Merrifield Garden Center

Patuxent Nursery

Rels Landscaping

The Stone Store

Veteran Compost

Bagged Compost

Maryland Environmental Services “Leafgro”

Ace Hardware

American Plant

Behnke Nurseries

Frager’s Hardware

Ginkgo Gardens

Home Depot

Johnson’s Florist & Garden Centers

Lowe’s Home Improvement

Merrifield Garden Center

Patuxent Nursery

Purple Mountain Organics

Old City Farm and Guild


Veterans Compost

W.S. Jenks

Need a Delivery Dump Truck to Pick up Compost?

Dejavue Trucking
Dump truck for hire to transport soil and soil amendments in DC.

DC Water Biosolids “Bloom”

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Places to Pickup Free Compost

Many DPW centers will process street leaves, dead trees, and Christmas trees into mulch or compost at different centers around greater DC. Most places will allow you to pickup this mulch/compost for free and some places will deliver for a reasonable price.   Its always a good idea to call ahead to see if they have any material at all. And it’s hard to tell when the material is half broken down (mulch) or fully broken down (compost) and there may be trash or containments depending on where the material was picked up. But hey…its free!

Alexandria Department of Public Works Yard Waste Recycling

Arlington County Department of Environment 

DC Department of Public Works Fort Totten Transfer Station

Takoma Park Public Works Department

Free Sources of Horse Manure

When picking up manure you want to make sure its

    • completely organic (National Park Stables are 100% organic)
    • aged (composted or sitting for a year and ready to go into a garden)
  • or fresh (not ready for a garden but great to mix into a compost pile or to let sit in a pile for a year before putting into a garden.)

Fort Dupont Stables

Rock Creek Park Horse Center

Wheaton Park Stables

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Map of all Finished Compost (bulk/bagged) Sites

Blue – Places to Buy Compost (Bagged and/or Bulk)
Red – Places to Pickup Free Compost/Mulch (some have fee delivery)
Grey – Manure Pickup

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Food Waste Pick Up Services

Pay a monthly fee to have food waste pickup from your house to be composted

Compost Cab

Compost Crew

Fat Worm Compost

Veteran Compost

Rendering Services

Storm Oil

Valley Proteins

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Places to Drop Off Food Waste to be Composted

Don’t want to pay a fee to compost?  Below are composting options in the city to compost without a fee.

DPR Community Composting Cooperative Network

The DC Parks and Recreation (DPR) Community Compost Cooperative Network uses new critter proof and smell proof compost bins designed by Urban Farm Plans to allow trained community members to compost food scraps with garden waste from DPR and partner DPR gardens to responsibly create high quality compost. To join each member must take an hour training and help process compost 1-hour a month.

Find the nearest compost cooperative to join to compost your food scraps.

DPW Food Waste Drop-Off

Residents are able to drop off food waste for free at designated farmers’ markets in all eight city wards (only three stay active over winter).


MOM’S Organic Recycling Center

Accepts daily: Bar Wrappers, Batteries, Brita Filters, Cell Phones, Food Waste, Drink Pouches, Food Squeeze Pouches, Glasses, Health and Beauty Packaging, Natural Cork, Plastic, Shoes, Snack Bags

Annual Drives: Denim, Holiday Lights

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Carbon Recovery for Composting

An important part of food recovery in DC is composting.  In the last few years community composting initiatives have gained momentum throughout DC as communities, community gardens, and schools are figuring out ways to compost their food scraps with different kinds of carbon sources around the city, such as garden waste, fall leaves, wood chips, shredded paper, etc.  Unfortunately, finding enough carbon to properly mix with food scraps has been a challenge.

If you have extra carbon sources to donate, if you’re looking for carbon sources for your compost or carbon spot, or if you are looking for a place to compost, please explore the links below.

Find or Share Sources of Carbon

Have extra sources of carbon? These sites will accept them!
Please read the directions at each flag and make contact before your first drop off.

(email to become a drop off site on the Carbon Drop off Map)

Need extra sources of carbon?

Reach out to a carbon producer on the List of DC Carbon Producers to politely and respectfully request a carbon drop off

(email if you are a carbon producer and would like to be added to this list)

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Learn How to Compost

What to learn how to compost in your own yard or garden? Below are various courses, individual workshops, and resources to learn how to responsibly compost in a city.


DPR Urban Master Composter Certificate Course

Neighborhood Soil Rebuilders Composter Training Program

Organizations that Host Individual Workshops

Common Good City Farm

Cultivate the City

DC Parks and Rec Urban Garden Division

Eco City Farms

Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Rooting DC

UDC Causes


DPW Home Composting Guide (English)

DPW Home Composting Guide (Spanish)

ILSR Guide to Community Composting


Rat Proof Compost Bin Design – Urban Farm Plans

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