Food Waste

What does food waste have to do with climate change?

Organic waste–and specifically food waste–has shown to be a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions globally. Based on statistics from a 2017 report by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), we can roughly estimate that Portland and South Portland dispose of over 8,000 tons of food per year, approximately 5,600 tons of which is edible.

Diverting food waste can take many forms–many of which not only reduce emissions, but also help to better feed our communities, create sustainable energy, fertilize our soils, and sequester carbon from the atmosphere. Maine has formally adopted the Food Recovery Hierarchy, which prioritizes actions to reduce food waste based on their community benefits. The hierarchy starts with reducing the volume of surplus food, followed by directing excess food to food-insecure people, feeding animals, composting food waste or converting it to fuel, and finally disposing of food waste as a last resort.

Want to Learn How to Reduce Your Food Waste? Click Below to Watch Our October 2021 Coffee and Climate and Hear from the UMaine Mitchell Center and Our Sustainability Offices!

City of Portland Food Waste Program

Option 1: Food Composting Drop-Off

This option is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Simply collect your food scraps in an air-tight container at home, bring food scraps to any of the following drop-off locations, and empty into the provided bins. Visit the Portland Sustainability Office’s website to learn more. 

    -North Street Community Garden (195 North St)

    -Boyd Street Community Garden (2 Boyd St)

    -Clark Street Community Garden (Corner of Clark St and Salem St)

    -Libbytown Community Garden (175 Douglass St)

    -Riverside Recycling Facility (910 Riverside St)

***Riverside Recycling is open 7:30 AM – 3:30 PM Monday thru Saturday, but it’s busy during certain hours. Recommended hours are 10 AM – 12 PM and 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM Monday thru Friday.

Option 2: Private Curbside Service

Portland residents can also opt to hire a private food waste hauler to empty your bin at your curb for a monthly fee through either Garbage to Garden or We Compost It!

City of South Portland Food Waste Program

The City of South Portland will provide free bins to residents who wish to recycle their food scraps. To make it easy, you can line these bins with clear, clear-ish, or white plastic bags to contain your food scraps. To receive a bin, stop by the Municipal Services Facility at 929 Highland Ave (Mon-Fri 7:30 AM – 3 PM). Contact Denise at Public Works with questions at 767-7635. Bins are available while supplies last. Click here to read more about the South Portland Food Waste Recycling Program. 

Disposal Option 1: Drop-Off Sites

Residents may bring their food waste to any one of the five designated drop-off sites located around the city free of charge:

    -Transfer Station (929 Highland Ave. 8 AM – 3:30 PM, Monday-Saturday)

    -City Hall (25 Cottage Rd)

    -Gold Course Maintenance Building (221 Westbrook St)

    -Planning & Development Office (496 Ocean St)

    -South Portland High School (along Highland Ave)

Disposal Option 2: Private Contracting with Garbage to Garden

South Portland residents may hire Garbage to Garden, a private food waste hauler, to empty your bin at your curb for a monthly fee. The City has negotiated a reduced rate for this service ($12/month starting April 15, 2022). Contact Garbage to Garden at 207-332-0277 or