Food Waste Drop-off Program


Click here for a flyer about the Food Waste Drop-Off Program

Food that you cannot eat or donate doesn’t have to go in the trash. New Bedford residents can drop off food waste at the City of New Bedford’s Recycling Center at 1103 Shawmut Avenue. The Recycling Center is open Monday,
Wednesday, and Friday, noon to 5 pm and Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

What you can drop off: All unpackaged food, bones, seafood shells, and coffee grounds. Examples: fruits, vegetables, peels, meat, chicken bones, lobster shells, eggshells, dairy, breads, grains, and baked goods. This can be loose, or in BPI certified compostable bags.

Here’s how to participate:
Find a spot in your kitchen to place a bowl or other collection container for food waste. If you line it, use a BPI certified compostable bag. No plastic bags. BPI certified compostable bags are available, while supplies last, at the Department of Facilities and Fleet Management, 294 Liberty Street. The office is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Kitchen bins designed for collecting food waste, and BPI certified compostable bags, are for sale online.

  1. Fill your kitchen bin with accepted materials, listed above.
  2. When almost full, tie off the compostable bag or empty the kitchen bin into a larger container. A bucket or pot with a lid works well.
  3. When the larger container is almost full, take it to the Recycling Center. Be careful not to make the container too heavy for you to lift.

Items that are not accepted include plastic bags, canned food, packaged food, cleaning chemicals, diapers, glass, pet waste, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, plates, cups, utensils, recycling, trash, and yard waste.

Why participate?

20% of what residents place in their trash carts is food waste. This program will help residents reduce waste at home and keep food waste out of the Crapo Hill Landfill. The less that is added to the landfill, the longer it will last. When the landfill fills up, new options will need to be found for managing our waste. These options will very likely be more expensive than the current costs at our local landfill.

What is happening with the material that is dropped off?

The Recycling Center has carts designated for food waste. The carts are emptied by a partnering company called Recycle Works and taken to an anaerobic digester in Rhode Island. In this process, bacteria break down the food waste into biogas that can be used for heat, electricity, or fuel, and a solid material called digestate that can be used for fertilizer or animal bedding.

Another option for diverting food waste is to compost at home. Backyard compost bins are sold to New Bedford residents at a discounted price. For more information, call the Greater New Bedford Regional Refuse Management District at (508) 979-1493, or email

*”The BPI Certification program is a third-party verification of ASTM standards for compostable products in North America, and the starting point for every company wishing to make compostability claims on products and packaging.” From Please visit for more information.

Contact Information

Department of Facilities and Fleet Management
(508) 979-1520, (508) 961-3008
questions about solid waste, recycling, and yard waste collection, drop-off recycling, and ordering additional recycling carts
Greater New Bedford Regional Refuse
Management District
(508) 979-1493
questions about the food waste drop off program, backyard compost bins, recycling, Household Hazardous Waste Day, and Paper Shredding Day