Commercial Food Scraps Composting

Food Compost Pilot Program
Does your business, school, office, store, restaurant or hospital produce food waste? Do you drink coffee at any of these places? If so, this program might be for you. One local office composts 80-100 pounds of coffee grounds per week (no joke). That alone contributes to 5,000 lbs diverted from the landfill each year!

Businesses are the source of 75 percent of all landfill waste. Studies show that food scraps, food-soiled paper and yard trimmings make up nearly a third of that total. These are rich materials for compost. Removing food from the waste stream significantly reduces the global warming impact from landfills. Decomposing food waste is a major source of methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than C02.

How it Works
Dirt Hugger offers curbside food waste collection service for food-producing places in Hood River and The Dalles (think groceries, hospitals, schools, restaurants,  offices, jails, salsa factories, etc…).

Step 1: Contact your local waste hauler to set up collection (Hood River Garbage- 541-386-4676 or Dalles Disposal 541-298-5149)  Pricing is $14 per can per pickup. Pickup can be twice per week, once per week, or on call.

Step 2: Place and label containers. Once you’ve set up service, place composting containers in your food preparation and disposal areas, and label each collection site with stickers and posters. We are currently operating a “bagless” program at the curbside container. Most customers use plastic bags (or paper strips) in their kitchen containers and then dump the food only into the curbside bin.

Step 3: Train your Team. Prior to beginning service, Dirt Hugger will help host a training session on what can and cannot be composted. Team training is vital to the success of a composting program. This provides an opportunity to create buy-in from the whole team and answer any questions.

Food scraps from the Gorge turning into black gold

Once set up, local haulers will regularly collect your compostable waste at the curb – just like your typical garbage collection. Once your staff gets the hang of composting, you will likely see a decrease in the amount of your garbage.  Take this opportunity to talk to your garbage and recycling company about “right sizing” your garbage containers and service levels.  Ideally, by participating in composting and recycling, you will have little garbage left!

What we can + can’t accept at this stage
We have recently received a  Type 3 feedstock permit, which in English means we can all post-consumer food waste (i.e. what you throw away at the end of a meal). This new level of permitting will allow us to accept a much greater amount of food waste and increase landfill diversion.

Accepted- “If it grows, it goes.”

  • Food scraps (fruit, veggies, coffee, meat + dairy)
  • Floral trimmings, yard-waste, grass clippings, leaves

Not Accepted- “When in doubt, leave it out.” 

6 Responses to Commercial Food Scraps Composting

  1. Nicki Lynch says:

    I was unable to find pricing for different sized bins on your website. How much do they cost?

  2. Phil Nies says:

    Is it possible to drop yard waste off at your facility or should I drop it at the HR transfer station (on Wednesdays)? Does the transfer station organic material go to you anyway?
    You guys rock for making this program happen!

    • Hi Phil,

      Thanks for the question and apologies for the delayed response (I had a full computer meltdown last week and just got it back). The best thing to do is take your yard debris to Hood River Transfer Station. All of the yard debris from their facility comes here for composting. Also, we aren’t able to take residential drop off material at our facility at this time. Waste Connections has the franchise agreement for both Hood River and The Dalles so all residential yard debris needs to go through them. Thanks for checking in.


  3. Jacob says:

    I just moved to Hood River and am looking to compost food scraps. Is there anywhere to drop off?

    • dirthuggernate says:

      Hello Jacob:

      Thanks for inquiry. Currently there is not a collection site for composting food scraps in Hood River. The Hood River City Council has an upcoming vote on Tuesday, Oct. 11th regarding the establishment of a curbside compost collection program with Hood River Garbage. So hopefully within the near future a program will rollout. Until then, we do take in food scraps at our site in Dallesport, WA ($6/can; 111 E. Rockland Rd.). A number of businesses in Hood River do participate in the commercial compost collection. If your employer takes advantage of that program, you may be able to bring your compostables to work.


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