ROC City Compost Pilot Program

IMPORTANT: ROC City Compost Drop-offs will be closed On Saturday, December 25th, 2021 and Saturday, January 1st, 2022

 What is composting?                                                                                                                                                                                                               ROC City Compost Top Logo (2)

Composting is the practice of separating organic waste (food waste and more) from regular land-fill bound household garbage so that it can be processed into a nutrient-rich material (compost) that can improve soil quality. After preparing or enjoying a meal, food scraps from your plate and cutting board (and more) can go into a compost bin provided by the City. By separating your food scraps at home, you are helping to send less waste to the landfill and instead recycle it into compost so that we can create a healthier environment for everyone.  

Why compost?

Rochester’s Community-wide Climate Action Plan recommends the implementation of an organics collection and composting program to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills and, as a result, reduce landfill greenhouse gas emissions (methane) that worsen climate change. Through composting, food scraps can be turned into nutrient-rich soil that can be used for gardening and potting household plants that filter oxygen in our homes.  The ROC City Compost Pilot program is part of the City’s larger Food Waste Reduction, Donation and Organics Recycling Program. The City of Rochester believes that “Food Is Treasure” and that we can turn “trash” into treasure. Learn more about the City’s Food Waste Prevention, Donation and Organics Recycling program and “Food Is Treasure” Food Waste Education Guide here.

 How does the ROC City Compost Pilot program work?

 1. Sign-up or call 311 to participate in the program.  

UPDATE: The ROC City Compost Pilot program has reached capacity and is no longer accepting new sign-ups. Thank you to all those who signed up to participate in the pilot. We look forward to seeing you at one of the weekly drop-off locations.                                         

2. You will receive confirmation email along with a brief survey. 

3. Complete the survey to receive a toolkit of materials (program guide, acceptable materials list, drop-off locations and schedule, small countertop bucket, larger collection bucket, and biobag liners for your bucket).

4. Follow the guidelines in your toolkit to collect food waste in your bucket.

5.  Every week, bring your large bucket of food scraps to one of the City’s drop-off locations (see below). New: Drop-off locations open on Wed., July 14 and Sat., July 17.

6. At the drop-off location, City staff will sign you in, weigh your bucket of food waste, empty it and hand it back to you so that you can continue to collect food waste and drop-off on a weekly basis. The collected food waste will be transported to a processing facility to be recycled into compost.

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 Drop-off locations and schedule:

Once you have signed up for the program and received your toolkit of materials, starting on July 14 and July 17 you may drop-off your food waste at the following locations and times on a weekly basis.     

 Cobbs Hill Park

 Parking lot by Lake Riley Lodge

 100 Norris Dr. Map

Saturdays 9am-noon

Wednesdays 1-4pm


Genesee Valley Park

 Parking lot by Sports Complex

131 Elmwood Ave. Map

 Saturdays 1-4pm

Wednesdays 9am-noon


Click here to download the ROC City Compost Flyer.


  December 27th 2021 Update: Happy New Year! That’s a Wrap for Composting in 2021!


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Happy New Year from ROC City Compost!

Can you believe it has been almost half of year of composting together? How great is that? What is even better is that we still have more than a year to go! As of the end of November, you (our participants) have collectively diverted 34.71 tons of food waste from landfills. 2021 has been a successful year of composting and we are excited to see the success continue in 2022!

December 21st, 2021: Happy Holidays from ROC City Compost

Helpful holiday hints for the festive composter

 wreath for happy holidays post 12.21.21

 Holiday meals and gatherings may create a large surplus of waste but the good news is that you can compost quite a bit of that! In addition to all of our compost-approved food waste, keep in mind that you can also compost all compostable single-use dishes and cutlery such as bioplastics and paper. If you are unsure whether or not your single-use dishes or cutlery are compostable look at the packaging it came in or on the bottom of the container itself for an indication. You can also reach out to the ROC City Compost Pilot Program Team with your questions too!

 December 15th, 2021: Reducing Food Waste This Holiday Season


AdventurersOpeningBox Composting is a great way to divert food related waste from landfills, however, the best possible way to divert food related waste is to create as little of it as possible by using the food you already have! The Food Waste Education Outreach Program is a great resource that can help avoid food going to waste. Before deciding on a holiday recipe, shop your refrigerator and pantry then craft a recipe around ingredients you already have on hand. You may have most of the shelf-stable items those cookies or pastries call for! Visit our Food Waste Education Outreach Program via the following link: The City of Rochester's Food Waste Education Outreach Program


Once the holidays are over, you may find yourself eating leftovers for days on end. If you feel like you are eating turkey, rice, and green beans for the third time in a week, then try some essential spices (cumin, garlic powder, chili powder) and sauces to bring new life to those leftovers! Shredded turkey is great on nachos and fried rice can be made with almost any rogue vegetable that can be found in your fridge. 


Compost FAQs #1

What goes in the compost bin

  What does not go in the compost bucket

For more info on the City's recycling program click here.   

 What are some things that I can do to keep my bucket clean

Composting FAQs #2

 1. Where does our food waste go after it is picked up? Who is processing the food scraps? What is being done with the compost? 

A: The food waste generated from our program is brought by our waste hauler (Impact Earth) to a vermicomposting facility (worm farm) called Organix Green Industries located in Seneca Castle NY.  Once the food scraps are recycled into compost, ROC City Compost will give back a portion of the compost to participants. More information about the compost giveback will be posted on the webpage

2. If this program is successful, will it result in citywide pick up compost?

A: It depends on the results of the one-year drop-off pilot program. Based on the outcome of the pilot, we may consider expanding the drop-off to more locations. After that, we may consider the feasibility of curbside pick-up.  Other factors such as funding availability and interest from a broader participant base would determine how the program can expand.

3. If we have more compost than what fills our City-issued bucket, can we bring that compost in an extra bucket to drop-off?

A: Yes

4. Can drop-off locations be added and can the hours of drop-off be adjusted?

A: Based on the outcome of the pilot program and feedback from participants and the public, we will consider adding locations and adjusting hours.  

5. How long will the ROC City Compost Program last?

A: The program will run through July, 2022.

6. The Do(s) and Don’t(s) section states that fat and oil cannot be composted – what exactly does that mean? Can I compost food that is baked or cooked with fat & oil?

A: This just means that we do not want you to compost large quantities of fat or oil such as a quart of used cooking oil. It is OK to compost anything baked or cooked in or with oil and fat or paper towels used to wipe off oil and fat

7. Can I compost yard waste?

A: Yes, you can compost plants and vegetable stalks, however, any yard waste that is more appropriate for leaf pick-up should be designated for leaf pick-up. To learn more about the City’s Fall Leaf Collection, visit:

8. How much compost tonnage has the program generated so far? Will the City be implementing some kind of dashboard so that participants can see the progress as the program moves along?

A: As of October 28, 2021, ROC City Compost collected 25 tons of food waste. More updates will be posted on the webpage at

Stay tuned!

 Composting Webinar Series

The City of Rochester has partnered with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County to provide a webinar series.

Webinar 1: Why Compost? (Link to zoom recording)

Webinar 2: Basics of Composting (Link to zoom recording)

Webinar 3: Compost FAQs (Link to zoom recording)

Webinar 4: What to do with compost (Link to zoom recording)

Webinar 5: Food Waste Education (Link to zoom recording)

Webinar 6: Compost Past & Future (Link to zoom recording)

Visit to learn more about the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County’s composting resources.

 CCE Monro County Logo


Email us your questions here!


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