Prince George's County residents show off their curbside composting materials. (Courtesy of Prince George's County Department of the Environment)
Prince George's County residents show off their curbside composting materials. (Courtesy of Prince George's County Department of the Environment)

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When we think of “composting,” we often think of backyard tubs of raked leaves and potato skins. Backyard compost is great for the environment and your garden, but it’s labor-intensive. We might not have the time, space, or desire to undertake the process.

Curbside composting isn’t in your backyard. It’s equivalent to your regular recycling or trash collection. You toss the materials in your cart, and your municipality handles the rest. It’s an extra step, but it’s the next step for our environment. We went from throwing soda cans in the garbage to recycling them. Now, we will do the same for food waste and yard trim.

Prince George’s County is leading the charge with PGC Composts, a curbside composting program for residents using County waste removal services. PGC Composts has been rolling out in phases around the County, and we have some tips for those new to the program.

Curbside Composting Tips and FAQs

What are my starter kit materials for?

Our Resource Recovery Division will drop off an exterior 32-gallon wheeled green cart, much like the one you use for recycling and trash. Inside this cart, you’ll find a two-gallon kitchen pail and educational materials to help guide you. Find a convenient spot for your kitchen pail. Many residents place it next to their sink, or wherever they prep their food, so they can easily drop peels and shells into the pail. Then, empty your pail into your wheeled green cart. Do not put your kitchen pail in the cart! Curbside compost is collected starting at 6 a.m. every Monday. 

How do I handle odors in my kitchen pail and wheeled green cart?

There isn’t much difference between throwing your scraps in the trash and your kitchen pail, but residents who expressed concern found these tips helpful:

  • Store meat scraps, bones, and fishy items in the freezer until collection day to prevent odors in your pail and green cart.
  • Layer yard trim or uncoated paper products in the bottom of your green cart to keep it clean and dry. 
  • Hand wash or machine wash your kitchen pail after use. (It’s dishwasher safe!)
  • Sprinkle baking soda in your cart or pail to control odors.

Can I use bags, like I do in my kitchen trash?

You can line your kitchen pail with approved compostable bags available at stores. They must be labeled as either “home compostable” or “commercially/industrially compostable.” Bags labeled biodegradable but not compostable aren’t accepted. Brown paper bags (like those from the grocery store) are fine. A full list of acceptable bags can be found on

What can I compost?

It’s not just vegetable peels and grass clippings!

  • Fruits and vegetables—any kind, they don’t need to be organic! 
  • Dairy products (no liquids, just butter, cheese, etc.)
  • Bread, pasta, grains (no raw dough)
  • Seafood (including shellfish)
  • Eggs and egg shells
  • Paper towels and paper napkins used in your kitchen
  • Coffee grounds and paper coffee filters
  • Uncoated, non-waxy compostable paper plates
  • Newspaper, including food-soiled newspaper
  • Tea bags and loose tea
  • Meat, including bones
  • Pizza boxes—clean or greasy
  • Loose and bagged grass (paper bags only)
  • Loose and bagged leaves (paper bags only)
  • Garden plant clippings
  • Green woody waste
  • Tree limbs and brush (tree limbs must be tied in bundles and placed next to the wheeled green cart at the curb)
  • Used or old straw and hay

What can I NOT compost?

The list of non-compostable items is just as important. Improper materials can contaminate or damage our facility. 

  • Leftover cooking grease, fats, and oil      
  • Facial or toilet tissue
  • Diapers
  • Pet waste, including cat litter
  • Plastic bags, wrappers, chip bags, or film 
  • Styrofoam containers
  • Plastic containers, jugs, and bottles
  • Glass of any kind
  • Aluminum or steel cans, utensils, and pans 
  • Aluminum foil and disposable aluminum pans
  • Foil-backed or plastic-backed paper
  • Household trash/litter

Who is eligible for the program?

Residents with County-provided trash and recycling services are eligible for our Curbside Composting program. By the end of 2023, every household will receive materials to begin composting “Every Meal. Every Scrap. Every Monday.” For additional questions, contact PGC311 or visit

Follow us on social media for more curbside composting tips and updates at @PGCSprout!

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