Energy & Environment

Houstonians can now drop off kitchen scraps for composting as part of a new pilot program

The goal is to divert food waste from going into the city’s landfills, which are reaching their limits.

Jen Rice / Houston Public Media
Nature’s Way Resources in Conroe, one of two sites that will be taking compostable waste from the city of Houston.

Houston’s composting pilot program is now up and running through Nov. 27 in an effort to divert food waste from going into the city’s landfills.

Residents can drop off food and non-edibles at three sites across Houston, including the Kashmere Multi-Service Center, the Historic Heights Fire Station, and the Houston Botanic Garden.

Mayor Sylvester Turner said it's critical to reduce the amount of waste being brought to the city’s landfills because they’re reaching their limits.

“We are running out of space, quite frankly, in about 20 years,” Turner said.

On Monday, during a visit to Nature’s Way Resources in Conroe, At-Large Councilmember Sallie Alcorn said the landfill gave her anxiety.

“When I think about all the food and everything everybody in the world throws in the trash, it really is something to give us pause,” Alcorn said. “We have to start thinking new ways and we have to educate people about how they can minimize the trash they create."

City of Houston
The city of Houston released information about its composting pilot program.

The city’s Climate Action Plan, which launched in April 2020, calls for diverting compostable waste away from landfills. According to the city’s website, municipal landfills are the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States.

For now, it's unclear if the city will establish a permanent program immediately after the composting pilot ends, but Turner hinted at the possibility of continuing the program after Nov. 27.

"I view this more as an educational pilot program as we segue in bringing it on on a more permanent basis. The reality is that we have to do things differently in the city of Houston,” Mayor Turner said. “We have to divert more things from our landfills, not just on a pilot basis, but on an ongoing, permanent basis. We’re saying pilot, but pilot only in the sense of introducing Houstonians to it. But I don’t see the program ending after six weeks.”

More information regarding Houston’s compositing efforts can be found on the city’s website.

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