FOOD WASTE & COMPOSTING
Frequently Asked Questions
We get lots of questions about our food waste collection service! Here are some of our top questions from residential customers. If you have a question, please feel free to email us!
Q: Where is collection service available?
A: Here is a Service Map indicating our current coverage for food waste collection in Richmond. When you sign up, we will verify and confirm availability for your specific location!
Q: What can I include in the bucket?
A: Most food items can be composted, albeit by different methods. We will provide a list with your welcome packet (included inside your first bucket). For more on what you can and cannot compost, check out What Can I Compost?.
Q: Why can't I include meat or eggs in the bucket?
A: Your food waste goes through many phases of processing on our farm...first stop: the chicken composting station. Rotting meat and eggs produce a toxin called clostridium botulinum, which causes sometimes-fatal botulism in domestic chickens. Additionally, the toxin can live on in compost that is not properly heated. While we adhere to rigorous PFRP (process to further reduce pathogens) standards, we prefer to keep the risk out of our piles.
Q: Are we able to keep the 5 gallon bucket outside our garage? (I didn’t know if it would be a problem with animals.)
A: You can store the bucket outside, but if you have a determined raccoon, you may need to change the location of your bucket. The bucket we provide may have a twist-on or pry-off lid. Closing the lid tight will help prevent animals from entering your bucket. Whether you choose to store your bucket inside or outside, be sure it is kept on a non-porous surface that can easily be wiped clean in the event of a leak.
Q: Do the buckets smell?
A: The contents may get smelly but should only smell when the lid is opened. You can minimize odor by adding a layer of shredded newspaper every now and then which absorbs moisture and barricades odor. And most importantly, stick to a two week pick-up schedule - any longer and things can get ugly.
Q: Uh oh. My bucket has maggots.
A: Thanks for the bonus chicken treats. (Also, keep your lid on tight!)
Q: Are there additional costs associated with setting up this service?
A: There is a one-time bucket deposit due at sign-up which is refunded upon cancellation and return of the bucket. If the bucket is lost or stolen, there is a charge for a replacement bucket. (Worried about theft? Ask about a complimentary combination lock.)
Q: Can I buy a bucket or keep my bucket after service cancellation?
A: If you wish to keep your bucket after service cancellation, your bucket deposit will not be refunded. If you wish to buy a new bucket at any time, contact us for pricing (subject to availability).
Q: What is the contract period for collection? How do I go about cancelling if it doesn't work for me?
A: There are no contracts with our residential food waste collection service. If you pay for multiple months in advance and cancel prior to the conclusion of your prepaid period, we will refund you for any unused pick-up fees occurring after the cancellation date.
Q: What if I'm on vacation during my collection week?
A: We ask that you let us know in advance if you will not be able to put your bucket out for collection for any reason. We will gladly skip your collection for the week and resume at your next regularly scheduled visit, crediting 10 credits to your account. Please limit scheduled skips to twice per year.
Q: What happens to my food waste?
A: Food waste is picked up by a member of our team and brought to our Montpelier, VA farm (just north of Richmond VA). The food scraps are weighed, sorted and most items are added to our All-You-Can-Eat Chicken Buffet (for our free roaming hens).
Q: How do compost credits work? What can I exchange my credits for?
A: Residential customers earn one credit for each bucket we collect. Once 20 credits are saved, you are free to spend them in our Farm Store. You can hold credits for as long as you'd like until you are ready to redeem them.
Q: My welcome packet mentioned a referral program. How does it work?
A: Our current referral program gives both you and your referral twenty credits to spend on anything in our Farm Store. Your referral should complete the referral field on the sign-up form to have these credits applied to each of your accounts. Credits are redeemable at the conclusion of their first month!
Q: Is there anything else I should know about your collection service before I proceed?
A: Yes! We're a small RVA-local farm that is committed to enriching the city and its residents. In so doing, we're enriching ourselves and our little sustainable farm. Our collection fees are calculated to offset the costs associated with the collection and composting process. We do not profit from our food waste collection operation.
If you have a question, please contact us for answers! We may just publish your question here!
Are you a commercial establishment, restaurant, market or coffee shop seeking to divert your waste from the landfill? We offer 50 gallon collection carts, dedicated coffee bins, and other collection containers and plans that can be custom suited to your establishment's needs. Contact us for more info!