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Food Waste Composting

Did you know about 15% of Onondaga County’s waste stream is food waste? That's over 39,000 tons! Food waste is the largest component of our trash that could be recycled, but is not…

So, commit, collect and compost! Local businesses and residents are reducing the trash they pay to dispose of and are creating a valuable resource by composting their food scraps with OCRRA. Learn how you can reduce waste and help improve soil and water quality in our community by composting!

Commercial Food Scrap Reduction:

Residential Food Scrap Reduction:


Commercial Food Scrap Reduction

Are you a business or school looking to reduce waste and join a prestigious list of environmental champions in Onondaga County? Well, read on to learn about our community's new recipe for recycling!

How OCRRA Makes Compost

Amboy Compost Site Aerated Static Pile System

At the Amboy Compost Site, food waste is mixed in a 3:1 ratio with a bulking agent (yard waste and wood chips). Then it is arranged in 20' x 100' long concrete bunkers that have a system of pipes running beneath them. The pipes are powered by electric blowers that pump air through the piles at scheduled intervals. The pipes allow air to circulate through the piles and create optimal conditions for decomposition.

Residents and businesses can purchase this nutrient-rich material and use it as a soil amendment or top-dressing for lawns and turf.After the food waste has decomposed and has met all of the temperature and monitoring requirements, the finished compost is screened for use as a soil amendment. This nutrient-rich compost is sold to the community at multiple retail locations and at OCRRA’s Amboy and Jamesville Compost Sites.


OCRRA's compost is USCC STA tested, which means that all OCRRA compost is a high-quality material that will be consistent from batch to batch. The guarantees that our compost has been laboratory tested by a third party and meets all USCC, DEC and EPA criteria.

OCRRA’s composting process generates enough heat to make virtually weed, seed and plant born pathogen-free compost. Check out our most recent test results.

Benefits of Diversion:

  • Reduces your trash volume, which reduces what you pay to dispose of it through your hauler,
  • Costs less to dispose of food waste through OCRRA's Compost Program than it does to dispose of it as trash (about half as much),
  • Lets your customers know you are an environmentally responsible establishment, and
  • Produces a nutrient-rich resource called compost, which has many environmental benefits.

Learn about the "new recipe for recycling" in Onondaga County! 

How to Divert Food Waste

Diverting or collecting food waste is easy. All you need to do is let your employees know what items are acceptable. Then place collection containers (pails) in the food preparation areas for employees to fill.

Many local businesses are already reaping the benefits of food waste diversion and composting. For example, Syracuse University is composting food waste from their dining halls in order to achieve their sustainability goals. After just one semester of collection, SU diverted some 30 tons of food waste and they are still going strong! Periodic reminders, whether through meetings or simply posting the list of acceptable items near the collection containers will help people remember what goes where.

Find out how much it costs to drop off materials at the Amboy Compost Site.

Call OCRRA at (315) 453-2866 or email us and we'll help you set up a food waste collection program that works for your employees, customers and waste hauler.


OCRRA salutes the local businesses and schools that are leading the environmental pack by composting their food scraps with OCRRA:

Food at SU

• Core

• Crouse Hospital

• Destiny USA (25+ food service locations)

• Empire Brewing Company

• Jordan-Elbridge School District

• Fayetteville-Manlius School District

• Giovanni Food Company, Inc.

• Le Moyne College

• Marcellus Central School District

• Onondaga Community College

• Pastabilities Restaurant

• Paul deLima Coffee

• Ramada Inn

• Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel & Conference Center

• SUNY Upstate at Community General Hospital

• SUNY Upstate University Hospital

• Syracuse Banana

• Syracuse University

• The Centers at St. Camillus

• The Oncenter

• Wegmans (8 CNY stores)

• Westhill Central School District



Residential Food Scrap Reduction

Let OCRRA Help

Save your food scraps and spoiled food and bring them to OCRRA; we’ll turn them into nutrient-rich compost that can be used on landscapes and gardens to grow healthy plants. Meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, eggshells, breads, grains, pasts, coffee grounds, paper towels and even tea bags and coffee filters can be composted at OCRRA.

Print out this poster to remind you of the items that are acceptable:

Food scrap recycling instruction poster

Tips to Reduce Food Waste 

Reducing food waste can be as simple as understanding "sell by" dates and improving purchase and storage habits. Learn more in this article.

DIY: Build a Compost Bin

OCRRA offers tips and a how-to video to help make the process easy. 

Save the world a little each day.
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