Food Scraps Pickup Program

The Food Scraps Pickup Program is a new way for residents of Ramsey and Washington counties to recycle food scraps from home! The program is rolling out over multiple years and will eventually be available to all residents of the two counties.

Learn more and get started by visiting or calling 651-661-9393. 

Why collect food scraps?

Twenty percent of our trash is food waste. When you participate in the food scraps pickup program, your food waste and non-recyclable paper products are recovered, recycled, and turned back into soil. Recovering food scraps from trash provides health, environmental and economic benefits to the community.  

How does it work?

Food scraps will be collected from residents using bags provided by the program called “food scrap bags.” Food scrap bags will be collected with trash and then separated from the trash after collection. This system requires no additional carts or trucks. 

How It Works

Food scraps pickup step 1

Order your free annual supply of food scrap bags.

Food scraps pickup step 2

Once a week or when the bag is full, tie a single knot at the top to close the bag.

Food scraps pickup step 3

Place your bag inside your trash cart or dumpster for collection.

Food scraps pickup step 4

Done! The food scraps will be composted.

Food scrap bags are thicker than compostable bags currently used at county drop-off sites or that you might purchase in a store or online. They are designed to hold up on the trip in a garbage truck. They’re also designed to eventually break down along with their contents.

There will be no charge to residents for bags or program participation. Bag distribution will occur through an online ordering system with a call-in option available for those without internet access.

Why food scrap bags?

Food scrap bags are an efficient and cost-effective method of collecting food scraps from residents’ homes. Benefits of this method include:

  • Does not require an additional collection cart
  • Does not require a separate collection day
  • Does not require additional hauling trucks
  • Has little impact on current waste hauling services
  • Results in fewer greenhouse gas emissions
What if the program is not yet available to me?

You can bring collected food scraps to a Ramsey or Washington County food scraps drop-off site.

Where can I find more information?

You may call 651-661-9393 for additional program information.

In April 2023, Ramsey and Washington counties launched a new curbside food scraps recycling program—the Food Scraps Pickup Program. Before rolling the program out to all residents of both counties, the Food Scraps Pickup Program was piloted with households in areas of Cottage Grove, Maplewood, Newport and North St. Paul. About 2,200 households were eligible to participate in these pilot areas. The purpose of the pilot was to test the operations of the program and learn from the experiences of a sampling of residents.

In June and July 2023, residents living in areas eligible to participate in the program pilot were given the opportunity to provide feedback about their participation in the program. All households in the pilot areas were mailed a survey to collect information about their awareness of the program and their experience participating (if applicable). Of the ~2,200 households that were sent the survey, 211 households provided feedback. Those who filled out the survey were also invited to participate in a focus group to provide more detailed insights. Five focus group sessions were held with about 20 residents. Review the key findings from these engagements by reading our Pilot Engagement Summary.