Organics Collection Program


Organic items, such as kitchen scraps and yard debris, make up a considerable amount of a household's waste, amounting to by most estimates more than 20-30 percent of the solid waste stream.

Village programs exist to collect leaves, brush, and yard debris like garden trimmings and grass clippings, but food waste has not been included in any organics collection scheme to date. Kitchen scraps, if not composted at home or put down the garbage disposal, end up going to the landfill, where they decompose inefficiently and produce methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas, far worse than carbon dioxide.

The Village of Shorewood approved a permanent organics collection program. The program has a separate cart for organics collection as an added service option for a fee. The program is available to residents occupying 1-, 2-, and 3-family dwellings. Visit Compost Crusader's website to learn more.

Additionally, the Department of Natural Resources routinely studies what is being thrown away and you can view their waste characterization study here

Compost Crusader
compost crusader wi image

For Questions and to Submit an Application:

What are the benefits of this type of service?

The curbside collection of organic items in a separate cart for commercial composting offers many compelling benefits.

  • Reduce waste sent to the landfill. As kitchen scraps and other organics represent nearly a third of household waste, separating items for compost reduces the landfill burden considerably.
  • Promote healthy soils. Compost is a wonderful, nutrient-rich soil amendment that, unlike fertilizer, builds soil structure for long-term productivity.
  • More items kept out of trash. Commercial composting allows more things to be easily composted than if you are composting in your backyard: primarily meat scraps, dairy products, bread and bakery items, and spoiled leftovers.
  • Convenience. Items like grass clippings and garden trimmings that typically need to be bagged can, with this system, be rolled to the curb for efficient collection.

Access a full list of things that can and can’t be compostable.

What does this service cost?

The following are the agreed upon rates (per month) with Compost Crusader.  The rates are primarily based on the level of participation from residents.  The Village Board agreed to provide a $1.20 per month subsidy to incentivize residents to participate. 

Bin SizeResident Quarterly Pricing PlanResident Yearly Pricing PlanVillage Subsidy
32-gallon cart$36.75 per quarter$140 per year$1.20 per house per month
64-gallon cart$44.25 per quarter$164 per year$1.20 per house per month

Starter Kit A with Cart Delivery

(2 gallon bucket and bags)

$19 - one time$19 - one time$0

Starter Kit B with Cart Delivery

(7 landscape bags)

$14 - one time$14 - one time$0

Starter Kit C with Cart Delivery

(5 gallon bucket with bags)

$12 - one time$12 - one time$0

What will I receive?

  • A rodent proof 32 or 64-gallon cart with collection service provided by Compost Crusader (every other week standard service with an ability to order additional pick ups when needed).
  • Cart provided at no cost to program participants from the Department of Public Works.
  • Full list of compostable items to include in the organics cart.
  • A Welcome Starter Kit including a kitchen caddy.

How do I apply for the program?

Residents can either fill out an online application or contact Compost Crusader via email or phone to learn alternative ways they can apply.

What is the collection schedule?

Collection will be Thursdays. Please have your organics cart at its curbside collection point by 7 AM on Thursday. (Note that the collection day may shift during holiday weeks. Typically, if the municipal holiday falls on a Thursday, the alternate collection day will be Wednesday.) Please check out your Compost Crusader online account for schedule details (

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits to having my compostable items collected? Isn’t it better to do this in my own back yard?
While grasscycling and home composting are great options for many residents, some are unable to compost on their own property due to lack of time, space, or wherewithal. This service aims to assist those residents who still wish to divert their organic material from the landfill. In addition, some residents who do backyard composting will still want to participate in the Village program because commercial composting allows for the collection of items that are more difficult to handle in a smaller, home system, and because those who do not currently compost during the winter can now have the service year round. Commercial composting, like the program Shorewood is studying, also allows the collection of some items that are more difficult to handle in a smaller, home system.

How do I dispose my food scraps and materials without using compostable plastic bags?  The Conservation Committee put together a few testimonials to respond to some recent service changes that no longer allow compostable plastic bags.  Learn how you can participate in the program considering this recent service change.

Why is this study being done?
The Vision 2025 Sustainability Action Plan adopted by the Village set the goal to reduce waste in the Village by 25 percent before the year 2025. Prior to that, the 2012 Sustainability Implementation Plan called for the investigation of municipal compost solutions for Shorewood. The Village is also looking for ways to improve our landfill diversion rate, which has been stuck at about 32 percent for several years.

What happens to the compost that is being made from the organics collected?
Compost Crusader, the contracted hauler, will tip the material at Blue Ribbon Organics in Caledonia. There, the facility processes the material for 4-6 months. Finally, it is screened and sold as finished compost to landscapers and home gardeners. The compost is sold in bulk as well as locally in some stores.

Why does this service cost money?
Collecting and transporting material, whether it is garbage, recyclables, or organics, costs a significant amount of money. Also, while it is cheaper to "tip" or take materials to a composting facility for processing as opposed to landfilling, there is still a cost associated with hauling, which requires fuel and labor, and disposal, which requires substantial land and equipment resources. Residents who choose to participate in this optional program are paying these costs, with a subsidy set by the Village that reflects potential landfill cost savings to the Village and keeps participant costs low and within the market range for this type of service.

Can neighbors share a cart?
Yes. Sharing is encouraged, but as only one household will be billed, payment arrangements among neighbors must be made prior to enrollment. Only one household will receive the starter kit, as well.

How can my large apartment complex or business participate?
This program is designed for 1-3 unit residential participants. Several companies provide this type of service for commercial accounts. We encourage you to speak with these companies or your landlord to find a service that meets your needs.

Access or print out other frequently asked questions (PDF).

What else can I do?

Whether or not your household participates in the pilot program, there are many ways you can reduce the environmental impact of your food and yard waste: manage yard waste locally on your property by grasscycling and mulching leaves, composting in your own yard and in the community, and minimizing food waste at the outset through smart shopping and careful management of your refrigerator and pantry.