Cincinnati Office of Sustainability

Get Involved!

ChuckLohreBetter Bin Compost Company, City of Cincinnati, Farmer's Market Week, Go Zero, Green Cincinnati, Plant Cincinnati, Queen City Commons

Get Involved!
For many people, this time of year is perfect to explore new activities or to act on long-standing ideas. Due to the pandemic, many more people are looking for COVID-safe activities and ones that support their values.
Composting and supporting farmers are two things that accomplish both those objectives, and there is a lot happening in our area that you can take advantage of. 
Read more below to discover what fits best for you, your family or friends. We encourage you to pick one and try it for a month. Summer is the perfect time!


Wasted Food Background
94% of Americans waste food at home. The average family wastes nearly a third of the food purchased, which is 250 pounds of food each year or approximately $1500. Fruits and vegetables are the foods most likely to end up in the trash.
Even if you throw out less food than the average person, most likely you can do better.
While prevention of food waste has the most impact on the environment, and using wasted food to

feed people  and animals is second and third best, creating compost is an important strategy once those other avenues have been fully explored.
There are lots of ways to get involved with composting in our city- doing your own backyard composting; paying for an organics collection service; joining a community garden or just generally learning more about compost. We encourage you to pick one and try it for a month. All the info you need is below.
Remember, when we waste food, we also waste all the water, energy, labor, agricultural chemicals, and other resources that go into growing, storing and transporting it. Most of the wasted food ends up in landfills, where it generates methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that is up to 86 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Wasted food is responsible for at least 2.6 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.


Composting 101
Take a virtual class, Composting 101, to learn all the best practices to successfully compost in your own back yard. This class is an excellent introduction to why we compost, different styles of composting, and how to get started at home.
Use all those vegetative scraps from your kitchen and your yard trimmings to create a great soil amendment.
Thursday, August 13th, 6-7 pm
Instructor: Kylie Johnson, Civic Garden Center Green Learning Station Coordinator
Cost: $10
Not sure you want to take a class, but want to learn more? Take a look at Kylie’s great posts,(Facebook @CivicGarden)answering some simple questions like what is composting and why should we do it?


Organics Collection Services

There are several choices available now for paid collection of organic materials: Better Bin, Queen City Commons, Plant Cincinnati, and Go Zero. Please note the City of Cincinnati only allows for composting of vegetative material (i.e. fruits, vegetables & yard trimmings), and cannot include dairy or any other materials. For other jurisdictions, please check your municipal code for guidelines.
Better Bin is open to any resident, regardless of home address. The $12 monthly fee provides you with a clean 4-gallon compost bin (with a lid) and weekly drop-off services at the Hyde Park Farmer’s Market, every Sunday from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm. 
Bring your full bin (vegetative material only) to the market and we will switch it out with a clean bin. Your monthly service subscription can be canceled at any time. 
Contact: Olivia Wilmink, [email protected] 
Cost: $12/month
Don’t forget to bring a face mask!
Queen City Commons offers community compost drop-off sites for several Cincinnati neighborhoods, and manages food scrap collection service for businesses and organizations.

Drop-off locations include the Village Green in Northside, the Northside Farmers Market, and the Taft Garden in Walnut Hills, with additional locations coming soon. 

Plant Cincinnati offers drop-off service at their location in Madisonville. You can use the drop off location up to 4 visits a month to leave your fruits, vegetables and coffee grounds. 
Plant Cincinnati also offers finished compost  to purchase for your gardens.
Contact: Michael Morris, [email protected]
accessible food waste services
GoZERO offers food waste compost drop-off stations or will place nine or more carts on a residential (or commercial) street and service them on a routine basis as part of a local collection route. 
Current Drop Off Locations include: Melink Corporation, Milford; 
Sycamore Community Schools, Blue Ash/Montgomery;
Casa Figueroa, Pleasant Ridge; Rooted Juicery + Kitchen, Oakley; Plant Cincinnati, Madisonville.

Nutrient dense food waste based compost delivery services for landscaping and gardening are also available.

s-6424935Community Gardens and Composting

Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation (WHRF) is working to establish a neighborhood-scale composting system within their community gardens. The idea is to start fairly small serving homes and apartments, then ramp up as demand increases. 
Utilizing a part-time Compost Worker for day-to-day operations and a Compost Coordinator to work with Better Bin and manage the overall project, they will collect data and documentation in order to create a playbook to assist other neighborhoods in getting their own operations off the ground. 
WHRF composting operations will utilize several different composting structures that are designed to be the proper scale and type for the garden where they are located.
For more information contact Gary Dangel.


Black Soldier Fly Program
Sidestreams Foundation is creating a neighborhood scale food waste processing facility utilizing black soldier flies and red wigglers to transform food waste into animal feed (larvae), soil amendments (frass and castings), and worms for home worm farms.
They intend to divert 10-25 tons of food waste from the  landfill, producing about 3-8 tons of animal feed and about 3-4 tons of soil amendment.
For more information, contact Steve Rock


Composting Resources Online
If you are interested in learning more about composting, but not wanting to commit to a class or service, there are some great on-line resources available to you.

 s-6424935National Farmers Market Week
August 2- 8, 2020
National Farmers Market Week (NFMW) is an annual celebration that highlights the important role farmers markets play in the nation’s food system, creating healthy communities and building prosperity among farmers and small businesses.
Farmers markets have been deemed essential businesses during the pandemic and market operators have been leaders in serving their communities safely, being some of the first to implement innovative strategies to change their operations around public health protocols.

We hope you will take an opportunity, while practicing appropriate health precautions & recommendations, to patronize your local farmers market.

To find a market near you, click here.

If you would prefer to purchase local food via online, here are some resources that can help. 

CORV Guide– Farm list starts on page 18 


Local Food Connection– Home or Pick Up Locations



2020 Midwest Regional
Sustainability Summit
with Key Note Speaker Majora Carter
will be a multi-day virtual event taking place August 5 – 7, 2020. The theme, “Cities of the Future: Becoming a Regenerative Region”, has provided a great opportunity for robust programming with dynamic topics and speakers.
To learn more, watch Majora Carter’s TED talk or to register, click here To see Summit speakers and the complete program, click here . To read about Majora Carter and six other Black Sustainability Leaders, click here.