Energy & Environment

City of Houston launches free composting program through February

Houston residents, businesses, and institutions generate 6.2 million tons of municipal solid waste per year.

Food Waste Recycling composting
AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli
FILE: Pumpkins, along with garden waste and other organic waste, await composting at the Anaerobic Composter Facility in Woodland, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. The city of Houston’s compost program will run through February 29, 2024.

The City of Houston has launched a free composting pilot program to reduce food waste in its municipal landfill. The program kicked off in late January in collaboration with the Solid Waste Management Department, Council Member Sallie Alcorn, and Zero Waste Houston.

The free six-week composting project is running through February 29th. Houston residents can drop off food scraps and other solid waste at four locations.

● Kashmere Multi-Service Center, Mondays – 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

● Acres Homes Multi-Service Center, Tuesdays – 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

● Alief Neighborhood Center, Wednesdays – 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

● Sunnyside Multi-Service Center, Thursdays – 3 p.m. – 6 p.m

Deputy Director of Administration of the Solid Waste Management Department Veronica Lizama said the department will work to continue its efforts beyond this program and work towards the city's goal of reducing and diverting waste.

"It's important because 22% of our food waste is going into our landfills right now,” she said. “We ask that you help us divert that waste, help us push this initiative forward, and let us catch up to other cities within Texas that are already doing this."

The City of Houston launched its first composting pilot program in 2021, which resulted in diverting over 14,551 pounds of food waste from its landfill. Reducing food waste in landfills lessens the city's carbon footprint and improves its air quality. The city said composting contributes to its green spaces and promotes personal and environmental well-being.

"The Solid Waste Department is eager to continue to provide innovative programs that divert waste from the landfill and actively engage Houston residents," said Mark Wilfalk, Director of Solid Waste Management, in a press release.

According to the Solid Waste Department program, Houston residents, businesses, and institutions generate 6.2 million tons of municipal solid waste per year.

Councilmember Sallie Alcorn encourages residents to compost their food waste rather than toss it in the trash.

"We're trying to have less trash here," said Alcorn. "If you separate your food waste and you also recycle, you'll find out that you have very little trash that goes to the landfill.”