Residential Food Waste FAQ

Updated: Jan 25

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) and here is a list of many, many compostable items.


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. It has a twist-on lid which is critter-proof when fully engaged. On pick-up days, the bucket should be placed for the collector in the location agreed upon at sign-up.


Q: Do the buckets smell?

A: The contents may get smelly but will only smell when the lid is opened. Not putting onions or other alliums (garlic, leeks, chives) in the bucket greatly reduces odor - it is the #1 offending odor of food waste! You can also minimize odor by adding a layer of shredded newspaper every now and then which absorbs moisture and barricades odor.


Q: Are there additional costs associated with setting up this service?

A: There are no other charges associated with pick-up aside from the monthly collection fee. There is a $10 bucket deposit billed on the initial invoice which is refunded upon cancellation and return of the bucket. If the bucket is lost or stolen, there is a $10 charge for a new bucket.


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. Our prepaid subscription options are 1, 6 and 12 months, so if we receive payment we will plan to collect for the duration of the invoiced period. You can cancel or suspend service as it suits you, just email. If you pay for multiple months in advance and cancel prior to the conclusion of the 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 (20 credits may be redeemed for one month of collection).


Q: What happens to my food waste? Where does it go and how is it turned into compost?

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 added to various bins - we have hot bins, worm bins, and the 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. Could you share something about that?

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 billing cycle!


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. We're motivated by doing good, not by profit. Our collection fees are calculated to offset the labor costs associated with the collection and composting process, and nothing more. Our purpose is to leave this earth just a little better than the way we found it.


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!

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Terra Firma Compost Company

a division of Terra Firma Landscape LLC

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