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Mayor Bowser Highlights District’s Fall Composting Efforts

Friday, November 3, 2017
District to Host Citywide Pumpkin Rescue and Launch 2017-2018 Leaf Collection

(Washington, DC) – Today, at Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School’s “pumpkin rescue,” Mayor Bowser highlighted the District’s fall composting efforts, including the city’s own citywide pumpkin rescue and the 2017-2018 leaf collection program.

“These composting programs support our efforts to become the healthiest, greenest, and most livable city in the United States,” said Mayor Bowser. “Today, the students at Stokes are proving that we can all play a role in protecting the environment and building a more sustainable city. Now, we are calling on residents in all eight wards to join our efforts.”

Pumpkin Rescue

As part of Mayor Bowser’s Food Waste Drop-Off Program, which she launched earlier this year on Earth Day, the District will team up with food charities and organizations to recover leftover pumpkins for a one-day “Pumpkin Rescue” on Saturday, November 4 (tomorrow). Carved and painted jack-o’-lanterns will be composted along with other food scraps, and fully intact pumpkins will be donated to food rescue partners.

The Food Waste Drop-Off Program is a free service managed by the Department of Public Works (DPW). It allows residents to drop off food waste at designated farmers markets every Saturday. The food waste goes to a local composting facility where it is turned into compost, a nutrient rich soil fertilizer. As of October 2017, the program had collected more than 68,000 pounds of organic waste from more than 9,000 people.

Citywide Leaf Collection

Mayor Bowser also kicked off DC’s 2017-2018 leaf collection season, which begins on November 6, 2017 and ends on January 12, 2018. During leaf collection season, DPW will collect leaves at least twice from each residential neighborhood. Leaves collected by DPW during this period, along with leaves and yard waste brought to the District’s Fort Totten and Benning Road transfer stations, will be composted.

“Last season DPW collected and composted approximately 7,363 tons of leaves in the District,” said DPW Director Christopher Shorter. “And with thousands of new trees planted throughout the city, this season we expect to collect even more—at least 8,000 tons.”

To ensure leaves are collected, residents should rake their leaves or put them into paper bags and place them in their tree box (or at the curb if there is no tree box) the Sunday before their scheduled collection week. Brochures with the leaf collection schedule were mailed to residents, but the schedule can also be found at Rain, snow, and ice storms may disrupt the collection schedule, and leaves will not be collected on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day.

Sustainable DC

Throughout the Bowser Administration, Washington, DC has served as a leading city on issues of sustainability. Since coming into office, the Administration has released Climate Ready DC, entered into one of the largest municipal onsite solar projects in the U.S., completed the largest wind power purchase agreement deal of its kind ever entered into by an American city, launched Sustainable DC 2.0, and signed a Mayor’s order pledging to uphold the commitments in the Paris Climate Accord. The composting programs highlighted at today’s event support the goals of Sustainable DC, the District’s plan to become the healthiest, greenest, and most livable city in the United States in just one generation. More information about the Sustainable DC plan can be found at