Founded in 2012 and based in Portland, Maine, Garbage to Garden is the beloved curbside compost service that offers urban dwellers, schools and commercial businesses a convenient way to recycle food scraps, including meat, dairy and bones, to be used to renew our local soil.

Our Story

In August of 2012, Tyler Frank was living in a 2nd story apartment in the East End of Portland, ME and like most urban dwellers didn't have space available for a compost pile.

Frank and his roommates pondered why they couldn't just put compost out on the curb like trash and recycling, and in the moment between wondering and wishing, Garbage to Garden took root.

Days later, Frank set up a table on Congress Street in Portland during a First Friday Artwalk and by the end of the evening, 17 Portland residents subscribed to Portland's first grassroots curbside composting service.

Today, 1 in 7 households in Portland choose to participate with Garbage to Garden. Garbage to Garden also services South Portland, Falmouth, Cumberland, Yarmouth, Westbrook, Cape Elizabeth, Brunswick and Bath. We now also service the following Massachusetts communities: Belmont, Arlington and Somerville!


Garbage to Garden is the most successful market-based curbside composting company in the Northeast, servicing over 5,000 households, schools, restaurants, businesses and events throughout Maine and Massachusetts. The ethos of Garbage to Garden is rooted in the spirit of sustainability and supporting the local economy while making composting for the masses as approachable as possible.


Get free service by helping others.

A unique aspect of our program is that we offer free service to those who choose to volunteer for us or our partner organizations.

Customer Experience

We do all the dirty work

When we say "you don't even get your hands dirty," we mean it! No cleaning, scrubbing or deodorizing your bucket!

Why clean buckets are so important

The "ick-factor" is a problem that we take very seriously and providing clean buckets to our customers is what makes our curbside composting service unique. When we pick up your compost, we swap your dirty bucket out with a clean one, so you start fresh every week.

A clean bucket is important because it:
  • Removes the inevitable ick-factor of rotting food
  • Eliminates residual pests and their larvae
  • Doesn't smell!

Local Soap

We'll also collect your used cooking oil. Maine Standard Biofuels turns it into biofuel and soap - the same soap we use to wash the buckets!

More on Maine Standard Biofuels

Local Farm

Your food scraps are composted by Benson Farm - the best farmers in Maine, which means the compost you get back is superb.

More on Benson Farm in Gorham

Not your average backyard pile

We incorporate all food waste - even meat, bones and weeds! But how? Food waste is incorporated into massive piles called "windrows" where it is composted at a high temperature. The heat is created by heat-loving bacteria called "thermophiles," so nature does the heating herself. Compost microorganisms are powerful enough to break down bones, weed seeds, pathogens, and even toxic chemicals.

Closing the Loop

Composting has numerous benefits for air quality, clean water, and soil. Food scraps have the correct ratio of nutrients that plants need to grow. By composting, we put nutrients back into the soil instead of wasting them!

Read more about closing the loop

So, what can you compost with Garbage to Garden?
If it Grows, it Goes!

  • Vegetables, fruit, citrus
  • Breads, grains, seeds
  • Meat, Dairy, bones, shells
  • Coffee grounds, filters and teabags (without the staple)
  • Grass clippings, leaves, brush (thinner than a pencil), and other inert organic debris not treated with pesticides
  • Clean, non-glossy paper
  • Napkins, food-soiled paper products, wax paper, muffin liners
  • Pet hair, laundry lint
  • Cooking Oil, Fat and Grease (collect cooking oil in a separate container with a lid and place it next to your bucket on garbage day. We'll bring it to Maine Standard Biofuels for recycling into fuel & soap!)
  • Plastics and Styrofoam
  • Chemicals
  • Metals
  • Glass
  • Pet Waste and Diapers
  • Please, no: plastic wrap, twist ties, stickers, rubber bands
  • Any inorganic materials
  • Brush or sticks (thicker than a pencil)

Did You Know?