HomeComposting in Chittenden CountyDrop-Off Composting

Man empties green food scrap bucket into large green toter.Drop-Off Composting is available at all CSWD Drop-Off Centers and Green Mountain Compost for residents and qualifying businesses (see Limits).

For more information for businesses, see Composting for Businesses.


The Drop-Off Composting program is limited to 30 gallons of food scraps per customer per day at any CSWD Drop-Off Center.

Customers with larger volumes should contact Green Mountain Compost at (802) 660-4949 for more information. Fees apply.

How to participate

Get a collection container

Use your own pail, or pick up a 4-gallon bucket at no cost.* Buckets are available at CSWD Drop-Off Centers (DOCs) or Green Mountain Compost.

Green Mountain Compost sells smaller countertop pails or larger collection pails well.

*Free buckets are for Chittenden County residents only. The 4-gallon green bucket is for drop-off composting only. Limit 1 per household. (If it breaks, remove the metal handle and bring it back to your local DOC for a replacement.)

Collect compostable items

Review our list of items accepted in drop-off composting before you start.

For easier cleaning, line the bottom with newspaper, a used paper bag, or use an approved compostable bag.


Empty your pail at the Drop-Off location nearest you

Bring your food scraps to your nearest CSWD Drop-Off Center, or take them to Green Mountain Compost in Williston.

View specifications & cost

The scraps we collect in this program are taken to the Green Mountain Compost processing facility, where the piles quickly reach and stay at temperatures of at least 145°F. Because these high temperatures kill any undesirable organisms and break down even tough materials like bones and corncobs, the drop-off composting program can accept a wider variety of items than most backyard compost bins.

Please consult the What is Compostable? page of the Green Mountain Compost website for details on everything that we can compost.

Please do NOT put anything other than paper or food scraps and plant material into the compost cart. Conventional plastic bags must be emptied and placed in the trash.

Tips for maintaining your compost bucket

Line it

Try lining the bucket with paper towels, newspaper (no glossy inserts or magazines – the inks can contain heavy metals), a plain brown paper bag, or a compostable plastic bag. You can dump these lining materials right into the compost cart at the CSWD Drop-Off Center.

Sources for certified compostable bags:

Green Mountain Compost carries EcoSafe compostable bags in 2.5 gallon and 7 gallon sizes.

Several local markets now carry compostable bags in sizes from 3 to 13 gallons.  The “natural” food stores are more likely to have them, and some major chain stores also now carry them. Several brands are acceptable, but the package must say “Certified Compostable by the Biodegradable Products Institute” or carry this logo:


Many online vendors carry certified bags in a range of sizes; one reliable online source CSWD has used for larger sizes (13 to 96 gallons) and quantities is buygreen.com.

Layer it

Each time you add food scraps to your collection bucket, add a layer of black and white newspaper, brown paper bag or paper towel to reduce odors and to discourage fruit flies.

Leave it somewhere cool

Keep food scraps in a specially marked container in the refrigerator or freezer until you bring food scraps to the  CSWD Drop-Off Center. In cooler weather, place your sealed bucket outside.

What about bugs?

At certain times of the year (usually summer & early fall) fruit flies can be more prevalent. Other insects may be attracted to your compost as well. One of the best ways to keep the flies away is to cover your bucket tightly when not adding food scraps.

Here are a few other tips to keep the bugs away:

  • Empty and clean out buckets more often during the summer and early fall
  • Keep food scraps in a cool place; cover food scraps with paper (see above)
  • Put about an inch of vinegar into a cup or jar, cover with saran wrap, punch several holes in the wrap, and place the container near compost collection containers to trap fruit flies
  • Wood shavings and sawdust from “Clean Wood” (e.g., NO plywood, particle board, pressure treated wood or wood that has ever been stained or painted) are also a good item to have on hand to layer on top of food scraps to discourage odors and fruit flies.  Gerbil/hamster cedar bedding is inexpensive and works well to use as a layer for compost collection buckets.