Food Waste Pilot Program

Sign Up To Reduce Food Waste!

image of banana peel, egg shell, ground grounds and other food scrapsDid you know that up to 40% of the food supply in the U.S. gets wasted? The billions of pounds of wasted food annually are not only a drain on our agricultural and financial resources but also come with an environmental cost. When food waste ends up in landfills, it decomposes and releases methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

You can help reduce food waste going to the landfill and keep climate-change-causing gasses out of our atmosphere. The City of Gainesville is looking for eco-conscious residents to sign up for a unique 18-month pilot food waste reduction program. Program participants will be able to recycle organic materials such as food scraps and food waste papers.


The total number of participants for this pilot program is limited, and participants in your neighborhood will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. For the operational purposes, Food waste collection services for this pilot program will be limited to selected pilot program neighborhoods only. If the opportunity exists to expand the program at a later date to more homes in other neighborhoods, the Solid Waste division will notify those newly eligible homes.

Below are the tentative pilot program areas for the initial phase:

Neighborhood Approximate range  Map
Sugarfoot W. University Ave. to SW 7th Ave., and SW 37th St. to SW Clear Lake Dr.  Download
Libby and Skyline Heights, Pine Glen, Crest View & Littlewood Estates NW 13th Pl. to NW 8th Ave., and NW 34th St. to NW 38th St.  Download
Westmoreland, Palm View, Westwood, Fernwood, Sunnybrook & Cheswood Park NW 16th Blvd. to NW 8th Ave., and NW 38th St. to NW 43rd St.  Download

What Will Be Accepted?


 images of accepted food waste including bread, pasta, rice, beans, dairy, nuts, coffee, tea, fruits, vegetables, processed foods, food waste papers

  • ✅ Bread, Pasta, Rice & Beans (e.g., stale bread, muffins, pizza crust, risotto, black beans, baked beans)
  • ✅ Dairy & Nuts (e.g., cheese, eggs, eggshells, almonds, peanut shells, yogurt, mayonnaise, dips)
  • ✅ Coffee & Tea (e.g., coffee grounds, coffee filters, tea leaves, stapleless tea bags)
  • ✅ Fruits & Vegetables (e.g., apples, carrots, lettuce, avocados, banana peels, potatoes, pickles, salsa)
  • ✅ Processed Foods (e.g., candy, french fries, peanut butter, ramen)
  • ✅ Food Waste Papers (e.g., paper napkins, paper plates, chemical-free paper towels, wooden popsicle sticks)

*Frozen, spoiled, or moldy foods also are accepted.

Not Accepted

  • ❌ No Meat, Fish or Bones
  • ❌ No Glass, Plastic, Foam, Metal or Foil
  • ❌ No Dryer or Vacuum Lint
  • ❌ No Pet Waste or Cat Litter
  • ❌ No Garbage or Trash
  • ❌ No Diapers or Used Toilet Paper
  • ❌ No Clothing or Textiles
  • ❌ No Rocks, Sand, Dirt, Lumber or Logs
  • ❌ No Pills or Medications
  • ❌ No Chemical or Cleaning Wipes

How Will It Work?

yellow five gallon bucket with lid> Program participants will each get one 5-gallon yellow bucket to store and set out food waste for collection. A lid that tightly seals in odors will come with each yellow bucket.
> Program participants will also receive one 2-gallon kitchen pail with an attached lid. This smaller container is for storing under or near your kitchen sink to make it easy to access while preparing food or cleaning up after meals.
> The yellow bucket will be collected each week at your curbside by Beaten Path Compost, a local community composter. The food waste material will be added to their managed compost pile, where over time, will transform into a high-quality soil amendment (compost) for use in gardens and farms.

How Much Will It Cost?

> $50 per home for the entire 18-month pilot program period (April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2022). That’s less than 65 cents per week!
> Participants will receive a one-time charge of $50 on their GRU bill in May 2021.


How Do I Use My Kitchen Compost Pail?

> beige two gallon kitchen compost pailWhen preparing meals or cleaning up after a meal, scrape food and leftovers from your plate into your kitchen pail. You can even include your paper plates, paper towels, and paper napkins.
> Store your kitchen pail under or in the sink, or on the counter to make it easy to access while preparing food or cleaning up after a meal.
> Dump the contents of your kitchen pail into your yellow bucket at least once a week. Do not set your kitchen compost pail out curbside for collection.
> Drain out as much liquid as possible from food before putting them in your kitchen pail.
> Rinse out your pail after you empty it. It is the participant’s responsibility to clean their own kitchen pail. The kitchen pail is NOT dishwasher safe.
> Line your kitchen pail with newspaper or a brown paper bag to help keep it clean. You can use compostable bags to line your kitchen pail, but please read the details on using compostable bag in the pilot program FAQs on this page. Never place plastic bags in your yellow bucket.

Pilot Program Partners