As Composting Gains Popularity, Cities Struggle to Meet Demand

Americans want to live more sustainable lives. Can governments keep up?

Source: As Composting Gains Popularity, Cities Struggle to Meet Demand

clamor for composting has grown so rapidly that Ortiz says he can’t set up a curbside program fast enough. “We cannot meet the demand,” he says. Referring to the county’s current composting program, Ortiz adds, “We already have a waitlist of 30 communities and institutions.”

Ortiz’s story is familiar to many city and county officials across the country. Curbside composting programs have doubled in the last five years, from around 100 communities in 2011 to at least 198 across 19 states today. Indeed, according to the U.S. Composting Council, those numbers don’t even tell the whole story. In lieu of curbside composting, dozens of municipalities have formalized drop-off programs for residential food scraps, and entrepreneurs offer curbside subscription services that, in some cases, have grown as large as 4,000 households.

Responding to that existing public demand is important, says Ortiz. People clearly “want to live a ‘closed loop’ or more sustainable way of life,”


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