Organic Compost Program Available to Northfielders


The city has established a pilot program for householders on the west side to compost their food waste. If successful, this may become a citywide service in the future.  However, there is an opportunity for other residents to collect food wastes for composting, although it means taking a trip from time to time to the city’s Compost Site on Armstrong Road, from where, according to TJ. Heinricy, Northfield’s Street and Park Supervisor, the organic waste is taken by Waste Management to a site in Empire, to be composted.

Northfield residents can collect food and non-recyclable paper into biodegradable bags (available at Just Food Coop, for example) and take them to the Compost Site where they can be deposited in the clearly marked dumpster. All food products can be composted, including fruit, vegetables, bread, cereal, dairy, meat (including bones), coffee grounds, filters and tea bags. Non-recyclable paper includes paper towels, plates, napkins, and pizza boxes. Items NOT acceptable are plastic bags, Styrofoam, glass, metal, diapers and pet waste. (You can store the full bags in your freezer until you have enough to make the trip worthwhile.)

The Rice County Landfill, where what we toss into our bins is deposited, will be at capacity much sooner if we continue to throw all our non-recyclables there. By diverting food waste from that destination, we can prolong the life of the facility. Composting food and organic wastes not only reduces pressure on the landfill, it also turns waste into a value-added resource as compost. Equally importantly, it can help fight global warming. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, when food is deposited in the landfill, it rots and becomes a source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas with more 21 times the warming potential than carbon dioxide. Moreover, landfills, a major source of human-related methane in the US, contribute more than 20 percent of all methane emissions.

The city’s Compost Site hours:

Monday - Closed

Tuesday – Friday, 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. or sunset

Saturday – 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or sunset

Sunday – 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. or sunset

The compost site is located between Northfield and Dundas on Armstrong Road, just south of Sechler Park. The compost site is generally open April through October.  Perhaps by the time the site closes next fall, the food waste composting service will be citywide!

Give it a try!