Where are community composters operating? Which cities, counties, and states support a distributed composting infrastructure through their policies and programs?

ILSR’s Composting for Community Map provides an interactive illustration of how communities pursue locally based composting capacity and enterprises, and how states help or hinder the growth of local programs. Scroll down the page for a map guide.

This is our initial beta launch of this map. Coming soon: opportunity to input updates. In the meantime, we welcome your feedback. Contact us at Composting4Community@ilsr.org.

Community-scale composters serve an integral and unique role in both the broader composting industry and the sustainable food movement. They are often social innovators and entrepreneurs. Many collect food scraps with bikes. Others employ youth and marginalized individuals. A growing number utilize cooperative ownership structures. They are located at schools, universities, community gardens, farms, and many other places – urban, rural, and suburban. Their distinguishing feature is keeping the process and product as local as possible while engaging the community through participation and education. Learn more.

For information on our community composting coalition, webinars, forums and other resources, go to: https://ilsr.org/composting/community-composters/.


How to Use the Map

The map provides markers to show local activity and layers to highlight state policies and programs. The markers show:

  • Locations of Community Composters, and
  • Local Policies and Programs that support community composting.

The layers show State Policies and Programs.

Community Composters

Community composters are also shown by type of operation:

  • Community Composter: Encompasses all community composters on map.
  • Community Gardens: Gardens that engage their surrounding community in their operations, and often allow community members to drop off their food scraps for composting. Compost is used onsite.
  • K-12 Schools: Schools composting food scraps onsite and engaging students in some way (coming soon)
  • Bike Haulers: Enterprises collecting food scraps locally via bike.
  • Other Micro-haulers: Other small-scale operations collecting food scraps locally.
  • Urban Farms: Farms in urban areas that accept food scraps from their local community for composting.
  • Cooperatives: Composting businesses owned and operated by the workers.

Local Policies & Programs

The “Local Policies & Programs” markers highlight cities and counties that are supporting local composting work in some way: (e.g., home composting incentives, zoning language, contracts, and requirements to study distributed systems).

  • Zoning Policies: Allowing for community and other local composting activities in zoning codes.
  • Acts: Legislation to support local composting.  
  • Contract Policies: Local governments supporting community composters by contracting with them to collect food scraps.
  • Incentives: Supporting local composting through local government creation of incentives for residents to engage in composting.

State Policies & Programs

The layers feature various state policies that affect local composting or advance a distributed infrastructure. Those policies include:

  • Compost Site Permitting Exemptions: State permitting regulations for compost sites that provide exemptions for small-scale sites to operate without a permit if certain conditions are met.
  • Requirements to Consider a Decentralized Infrastructure for composting. These laws often don’t have much teeth but do require agencies and stakeholders to consider home composting, community scale composting, onsite composting, on-farm composting, and other aspects of a distributed system.  
  • Food Residuals Disposal Bans require food waste generators to divert their food waste from disposal under certain parameters or ban food waste from disposal.  
  • Model Zoning Language that local government could implement (and also serve as an example for other states).


Help Us Improve the Map!

Fill out this form to let us know about any community composters we may have missed, and contact us at Composting4Community@ilsr.org to let us know about any state or local policies!