Food Scraps Recycling

Tompkins County makes it easy for residents to help reduce the amount of food sent to landfills with a robust network of free, easy-to-access Food Scraps Drops Spots. There’s Food Scraps Drop Spots conveniently located throughout Tompkins County, making it easy to save money by diverting food from household trash and decrease landfilled food waste.

Drop Spots:

Users can bring up to 10 gallons of food scraps and paper napkins & towels per day, free of charge, to one of our Drop Spots:

  • Recycling & Solid Waste Center
    160 Commercial Ave., Ithaca
    Open Mon – Sat from 7am – 3:30pm
  • Brooktondale Community Center
    522 Valley Rd.
    Open every Tuesday from 4pm – 6pm
  • Cayuga Compost
    3225 Agard Rd., Trumansburg
    Open 24 hours a day
  • Cayuga Heights Village Office
    836 Hanshaw Rd.
    Open every Sunday from 11am – 3pm
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension
    615 Willow Ave., Ithaca
    Open every Sunday from 10am – 2pm
  • Danby Town Hall
    1830 Danby Rd. (Route 96B)
    Open every Saturday from 9AM-Noon
  • Dryden Town Highway Department
    61 E. Main St. (Rt. 392)
    Open every Saturday from 9am – Noon
  • East Hill Plaza – Ithaca
    Pine Tree Rd. (Next to Walgreens)
    Open every Saturday from 11am – 2pm
    Open May-October Wednesdays 3pm-6pm
  • Enfield Town Clerk
    168 Enfield Main Rd
    Open every Saturday from 9-11am
  • Groton Town Clerk’s Office
    101 Conger Boulevard
    Open every Saturday 9am-11am
  • Hancock Street
    Corner of Fifth and Hancock Streets, Ithaca
    Open every Wednesday from 4pm – 6pm
  • Lansing Village Office
    2405 N. Triphammer Rd.
    Open every Saturday from 10am – 1pm
  • Newfield Town Hall
    166 Main Street
    Open every Thursday from 4pm – 6pm
  • Tompkins County Highway Department
    170 Bostwick Rd, Ithaca
    Open every Saturday from 9am – Noon
  • Trumansburg Village Public Works
    Corey Street (next to Farmers Market)
    Open every Saturday from 9am – Noon

It’s Easy:

  1. Collect your food scraps in your kitchen caddy.
  2. Empty your kitchen caddy into a transportation container with a secure lid.
  3. Bring your transportation container to one of our Drop Spot locations to dispose of your food scraps.

NOTE: Caddies are available free of charge from the Department or Recycling and Materials Management office or at any Drop Spot. Transportation containers are available for sale at the Recycling and Materials Management office for $12. Residents are welcome to use alternative transportation containers. 

What’s Accepted:

  • Bread & Grains
  • Beans & Nuts
  • Compostable Bags
  • Eggs & Dairy
  • Fruits & Vegetables
  • Meat, Fish, & Bones
  • Paper Towels/Napkins
  • Coffee Grounds/Paper Filters & Tea Bags
  • BPI-certified compostable bags

What’s NOT Accepted:

  • Compostable Serviceware
  • Glass
  • Metal
  • Pet Waste
  • Plastic
  • Utensils
  • Yard Waste –Yard waste can be dropped off separately at the Public Drop-off of the RSWC.

Drop off Procedure:

  • Stop and see the Drop Spot attendant, and follow instructions to the blue tote. 
  • Gently place your food scraps in the tote. Be sure to close the lid.
  • Users may bring up to 10-gallons (two 5-gallon buckets) per day.
  • Alternate Container Ideas:
    • Reuse plastic coffee containers or other containers that are about 2.5-gallons in size for your kitchen caddy.
    • Reuse a clean kitty litter, food service, or home improvement bucket as your transportation container.
    • Using a kitchen caddy or transport container is not required.

All material collected is processed by Cayuga Compost and available for sale at a number of local retailers.

*Update regarding compostable liners*

As of November 2023, TCRMM has discontinued free compostable liners. You can still use BPI-certified liners purchase from retailers, or go liner-less.

If you go liner-less, here’s some easy-to-implement tips to keep your food scraps bin clean and odor-free: 

  • Line your bin with newspaper or paper towel. A drop of dish soap on bottom before paper makes clean-up easier. You can compost the paper with your food scraps.
  • Store your food scraps in freezer until drop spot day. 
  • Sprinkle baking soda on top of food scraps.
  • Drop off your scraps more frequently.

What Happens to My Food Scraps?


Drop Spot Consultants:

The Tompkins County Department of Recycling and Materials Management is seeking new Drop Spot Consultants for its Food Scraps Recycling Program.

Drop Spot Consultants can work as the regular attendant at one or more drop spots, or as a backup, filling in as needed. Consultants provide customer service, offer outreach materials and information regarding the drop spots, and monitor traffic flow and safety. Must be 18 or older.

Drop Spot Consultants are paid $50 for a 2.5-hour shift, $70 for a 3.5-hour shift, and $90 for a 4.5-hour shift. Interested in applying? Please click here to fill out a brief form.  

If you’d prefer to ask questions over the phone, please call the Recycling and Materials Management Office at (607) 273-6632.

Food Scraps Recycling for Businesses:

There are options for Tompkins County businesses that generate more than 10 gallons of food scraps per day through the ReBusiness Partners Program.

Home Composting:

For more tips and information on home composting, visit Cornell Cooperative Extension’s compost resources page.

Liquid Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG):

Fats, oils, and grease are a valuable resource that can be turned into biodiesel and other products. They don’t belong in your drain where they can cause clogs and other problems that are expensive to fix. Residents of Tompkins County can collect the liquid fats, oils, and grease from their cooking and then deposit it at the FOG station at the Recycling and Solid Waste Center.

Procedures for collecting liquid FOG:

  • Allow the liquid FOG to cool.
  • Using a funnel, pour liquid FOG into a reusable container such as an empty milk jug.
  • When convenient, deposit FOG at the RSWC.

Join the Compost Club!

Tompkins County Recycling and Materials Management (TCRMM) is creating new Community Drop Offs for residents who want to drop off their food scraps for composting on their own schedule. The first location is at the Alex Hailey Pool in downtown Ithaca, in partnership with the Greater Ithaca Activities Center.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Fill out this form to register as a participant.
  2. Keep an eye out for emails from staff. Once admitted, you’ll receive a combination code to access your Community Drop Off point plus information about how to participate.
  3. Collect food scraps at home and drop off at your convenience.

New participants will be added on a rolling basis as capacity allows. Food scraps collected are brought to the Recycling and Solid Waste Center and processed by Cayuga Compost.

Questions? Call 607-273-6632 or email