Q. What is the food scrap recycling program?

A. In this program residents of the Village of Bronxville collect all their food waste—including meat, bones, dairy, and even some paper products--and bring it once a week to a drop-off site on Palumbo Place behind Village Hall (enter and exit from Midland Avenue). The Village provides at cost a handy starter kit that makes participating in the program easy.

The idea is to fill a counter-top pail, transfer the contents every couple of days to a larger transfer bin, and once a week bring the transfer bin to the drop-off site and add the contents to a 64-gallon collection bin.

Once a week, the food scraps the Village collects are hauled to a commercial composting facility in Cortland, about 30 miles north. There, within a few months, the scraps are turned into compost. Compost is a valuable soil amendment. By recycling food scraps, we restore a natural cycle in which this vital resource becomes organically rich soil with which we can grow more food. Food scrap recycling also reduces pollution and costs associated with sending food scraps as trash to landfills or incineration facilities.

Q. What is the difference between this program and backyard composting?

A. Food compost can be made in a backyard composter or in a commercial composting facility. A backyard composter is limited to certain foods (fruits, vegetable, coffee grounds, eggshells) while a commercial composting facility can accept any food. Meat, fish, dairy, bones, shells, pasta, bread, rice, fats, and oils can all be composted at a commercial facility. If you already have a backyard composter, we suggest you keep composting in your backyard and use this service for those foods that can’t go into your backyard composter.

Q. Who can participate?

A. All residents of the Village of Bronxville. If you vote and pay taxes in Bronxville, you are eligible. This does not include the wider 10708 zip code. If you live in Tuckahoe and Eastchester, you’re in luck: They both have food scrap collection programs: https://tesc-tuckahoe.org/ and highway@eastchester.org. Yonkers and Mount Vernon residents are out of luck for now, but those towns may be launching a similar program in the future, so check your municipal website.

Half of all Westchester municipalities already have food scrap collection programs. These include Scarsdale, Mamaroneck, Rye, Larchmont, Hastings, Dobbs Ferry, Ardsley, Rye Brook, Irvington, Bedford, Cortland, Croton, and many others.

Q. Where do I take the food scraps I collect?

A. Starting December 13th, residents can drop off food scraps at the designated drop off at Palumbo Place behind Village Hall. Enter and leave via Midland Avenue. Once on Palumbo, please take a right into the parking lot, swing around to the left to drop off your food scraps, and continue left to exit Palumbo. You'll see the large Food Scrap Recycling sign and bright green drop off bins!

The drop-off site is open from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. seven days a week.

Q. Must I purchase a starter kit?

A. No. Instead, you can collect your food scraps at home in whatever container you prefer and bring them to the drop-off site in paper or compostable bags. Just be sure NOT to place them in plastic bags, not even biodegradable plastic bags (which decompose into micro pieces of plastic). Compostable bags are made of corn starch, not plastic. Bags for this program MUST be BPI Certified Compostable. See below FAQ for more information.

Most people find the starter kit to be handy and inexpensive. The $25 purchase price covers the price the Village pays to the manufacturer. And the starter kit has been used by residents throughout Westchester who have already been dropping off their food scraps for years; the bins have proven to be durable and of high quality.

The starter kit consists of:

  • countertop pail

  • roll of 25 compostable liners for the countertop pail

  • Transfer bin for storing multiple bags from the smaller bin and for transporting to the drop-off site

  • brochure describing the program

Extra rolls of compostable liners for the countertop pail and the transfer bin can be purchased at Village Hall. The liners for the transfer bin are not necessary since all your scraps will already be in smaller liner bags, but you may find them convenient.

Q. Why must I use a compostable liner rather than a biodegradable liner?

A. Compostable liners break down easily. The liner that comes with the starter kit has been carefully chosen for its ability to carry weight without breaking. Biodegradable bags are plastic bags that simply break down into micro pieces of plastic. They cannot be composted and are not good for the environment. Bags for this program MUST be BPI Certified Compostable. If you decide to purchase bags on your own, please look for the BPI logo!

Q. How do I pay for the Starter Kit?

A. Currently the Village accepts only checks (made out to the Village of Bronxville) or cash.

Q. Can meat, bones, and grease go in?

A. Yes! Unlike backyard composting, which cannot include meat, dairy, and bones, in this program we collect ALL food products. Your food scraps will be taken to a commercial composter (in Cortland) that uses high temperatures to break down the food scraps. You can include all food products as well as soiled paper products such as paper napkins, paper plates, popsicle sticks, used coffee filters, and greasy pizza boxes.

Biodegradable cups and bowls that may look like plastic but are made of natural ingredients such as corn can also be included.

However, some paper products have plastic film coatings that make them less compostable. They should NOT be included.

Q. Can I put pet waste, baby wipes, or any wipes in the compost bin?

A. NO. Although you can put single waste napkins, coffee filters, and spoiled food into your town compost bin, you CANNOT put in pet waste, baby wipes, plastic OR biodegradable bags. These are NOT compostable. Please also remove the stickers on fruits and vegetables, and the staples on tea bags.

Q. Will the food scraps smell?

A. No, as long as you don’t wait too long before dropping them off. You should plan on taking the scraps to the drop-off site once a week.

Just to be sure you don’t detect odors, if you have room, we recommend that you keep the transfer bin in your garage or utility room and take the contents of the countertop pail down to the transfer bin every day or two. Both bins have been designed and proven not to leak. The transfer bin locks so critters can’t get in.

Q. My kids complain that food scraps are “icky.” How can I combat that?

A. Some kids actually like the grossness of food scraps. Others are turned off. In either case, collecting food scraps offers a teachable moment—to show your kids how natural processes take something decaying such as food scraps and turn it into something healthy and useful—organic-rich, nutrient-rich compost.

Turning food scraps into compost completes a natural cycle in which plants grown for food take nutrients out of the soil and decaying food scraps put them back into the soil, making the earth ready to grow more food. This cyclical process is what sustainability is all about!

Also, keep in mind that not all dirt is equal. Some soil has been so degraded by chemicals, over farming, and other poor agricultural practices, it contains less organic matter—fewer of the tiny creatures and nutrients that make up the rich ecology of healthy soil. Composting creates new organically rich soil.

Q. Is the Village of Bronxville paying for this program?

A. Over time, this program will save Bronxville money. Transporting food scraps to a commercial composter in Cortland costs the Village less than sending regular trash to Peekskill to be incinerated.

Bronxville is covering the upfront costs of the starter kits and will be reimbursed as residents purchase them. Bronxville is paying for collection bins and signage at the drop-off site. Westchester County is subsidizing the cost of hauling the food scraps to a commercial composter in Cortland.

Q. How can I sign up for the program?

A. You can sign up for the program now and pick up your food scrap recycling kit from Village Hall Monday-Friday. Kits are $25 each payable by cash or check to the order of the Village of Bronxville. This is a voluntary program.

Q. Will we get the compost back and be able to use it on our gardens?

A. Mostly, no. The commercial composter we’ll be using will sell the compost to local retailers, which will in turn sell it to customers. However, once a year, we hope to receive a big pile of compost that will be free for all residents, whether or not you participate in the program. More to come once we’ve confirmed this arrangement and have a Give-Back Date!

Q. I’d like a Starter Kit but I’m homebound and can’t get to Village Hall. Can I still participate?

A. If you are unable to get to Village Hall, please call Village staff or email

BXVfoodscraprecycling@gmail.com. If possible, volunteers will deliver a kit to your home. However, you will have to make your own arrangements to drop off your scraps each week.

Q. I put most of my food scraps down my garbage disposal. Why should I bother to join this program?

A. For two reasons—first, because you can compost far more than you can put down the disposal, including food soiled paper products, used coffee filters, bones and shells, compostable cups and plates, etc. Second, because the current thinking is that garbage disposals are not great for the environment.

By mixing organic waste like food scraps with water and flushing it into our sewer system, you’re making more work for our waste treatment facility, which must now separate out that organic waste. It may be impossible for the treatment plant to capture all that organic material, which means that some of it will be released from our Yonkers waste-water treatment facility into the Hudson River.

In the natural world, soil can absorb organic nutrients with ease; water is less able to do that. In fact, much of the water pollution we face comes from too many nutrients getting into water (much of it from animal waste and chemical fertilizers), depriving our rivers, streams, and lakes of oxygen, starving fish and other aquatic life, and giving rise to toxic algae blooms.

Q. Ok, I get that food scraps can be turned into compost, which is great. But what’s wrong with incinerating them, as we do now?

A. Food scraps are not waste—they are a vital resource. By recycling them, we capture this resource and turn it into a useful product—compost.

Also, food scraps are made mostly of water, and water does not burn well. They also emit methane, which contributes to greenhouse gases. By removing food scraps from the incineration waste stream, we are increasing the efficiency of the Charles Point Facility in Peekskill, saving energy and money. Recycling food scraps is a big win for the environment, and for all of us!

Q. I have more questions—who can I ask?