Food Waste Drop-off Program


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

Your wasted food 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, fruits, vegetables, peels, meat, bones, shells, eggshells, dairy, breads, grains, baked goods, coffee grounds, coffee filters, tea bags that tear, napkins, paper towels. This can be loose, in paper bags or compostable bags.

Starter kits

Free starter kits are being distributed to New Bedford residents while supplies last. Each kit includes a kitchen counter bin, roll of compostable bags, and a 5-gallon bucket for transporting the accepted waste to the Recycling Center. Starter kits are available at the Recycling Center, 1103 Shawmut Avenue, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, noon to 5 pm and Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The kits are also available 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.

Here’s how to use your starter kit:

  1. Find a spot for your kitchen bin. Line it with a compostable bag.
  2. Fill the kitchen bin with accepted materials.
  3. When the container is almost full, tie off the compostable bag and place it into the 5-gallon bucket.
  4. When the 5-gallon bucket is almost full, take it to the Recycling Center.

Don’t have a starter kit? You can put food in any container such as a bowl and line it with a paper bag. Or don’t line it all. Any bucket will work to transport the food waste to the Recycling Center.

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

Why participate?

About 21% 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 reaches capacity, 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 weekly by a partnering company called Recycle Works and brought 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

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