At-Large Position 5

Composting Pilot Program

Composting Header Graphic

The city's very first composting pilot program has ended! A huge thank you goes to all our wonderful participants and partners. With their help, the three drop-off locations - Kashmere Multi-Service Center, Heights Historic Fire Station, and the Houston Botanic Garden – diverted a total of 14,551 pounds from the landfill (over 7 tons!) See diversion numbers by location by clicking the illustrations below, which will lead you to our diversion dashboards. This program would not have been possible without our composting partners, Zero Waste Houston and Moonshot Compost, who graciously donated their time and services to the city at no cost. I'm also grateful for the enthusiastic work of all our partners: Mayor Sylvester Turner, Council Member Tarsha Jackson, Council Member Abbie Kamin, Council Member Robert Gallegos, the Solid Waste Management Department, Houston Health Department, Houston Botanic Garden, Houston Heights Association, Urban Harvest, the Mayor's Office of Sustainability, and Houston Complete Communities.

Composting Locations

After evaluating the initial pilot survey results, an overwhelming number of residents responded they planned to continue composting following the six-week program. In response, Zero Waste will continue operating a free drop-off site on Wednesday evenings from 5PM-7PM at the Historic Heights Fire Station, 107 W 12th St, Houston, TX 77008. If you are unable to make this drop off time, here are some additional ways you can continue to divert your waste from the landfill:

  • Happy Earth Compost is offering free drop-offs at various markets around the city!
    • Memorial Villages Farmers Market: Saturdays, 9AM – 1 PM (10840 Beinhorn)
    • Whole Foods Montrose: Saturdays, 10AM- 12PM (701 Waugh Dr)
    • Discovery Green: Saturdays, 11AM – 2 PM (1500 McKinney St)
    • Rice Village Farmers Market: Sundays, 9AM – 1PM (Rice Village)
    • Whole Foods Kirby: Sundays, 10AM -12PM (2955 Kirby Dr)
  • Find a community garden near you that accepts compostable waste! Below are some locations that are taking food scraps:
    • Mandell Park (4399 Mandell St)
    • Kashmere Multi-Service Center (4802 Lockwood Dr)
    • Progressive 5th Ward (4516 Hershe St) – residents only
    • Southside Place Community Garden (6309 Edloe St)
    • Blodgett Urban Gardens (3216 Blodgett)
    • Ecotone (3616 St Charles St)
    • Nellie Keyes Park (801 Lester St)
    • Beauty’s Garden (3201 Airline Dr)
    • Messiah Lutheran Church (816 Roy St)
    • If you are aware of any additional locations, please let us know (by emailing so we can update this list.
  • Sign up for a private collection service!
  • Continue/start at-home composting – here is a sustainable living guide (.pdf, courtesy of Urban Harvest) to help you get started.

Don’t forget to fill out our end-of-pilot survey – to help us evaluate the pilot and way forward!

Why compost?

The Climate Action Plan’s waste management goals include “strengthening and supporting efforts to collect and compost food organics.”

According to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, in the United States, food is the single largest category of material placed in municipal landfills, where it emits methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Municipal solid waste landfills are the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States, accounting for approximately 14.1 percent of these emissions in 2017.

The methane emissions from municipal landfills in 2019 were approximately equivalent to the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from more than 21.6 million passenger vehicles driven for one year or the CO2 emissions from nearly 12 million homes’ energy use for one year.

Houston residents, businesses and institutions generate approximately 6.2 million tons of municipal solid waste per year.

Beyond reducing waste, using compost enhances rainfall penetration, which reduces water runoff and soil erosion. This in turn reduces sediment, nutrients, and pesticide losses to streams by 75-95 percent. Compost also improves the soil and enhances beneficial microbes that help reduce plant diseases and pests, per the U.S. Department of Agriculture.