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City of Pittsburgh Launches a Citywide Composting Pilot to Reach Goal of Becoming Zero-Waste City

City of Pittsburgh Launches a Citywide Composting Pilot to Reach Goal of Becoming Zero-Waste City  

City Planning’s Sustainability and Resilience division is looking for 300 residents to participate in a pilot to test regional composting solutions for City residents 

PITTSBURGH – The Department of City Planning’s Sustainability and Resilience division is working with local and regional partners to launch a five-month composting pilot across the City that addresses its goal of becoming a zero-waste city. 

“We want to empower residents to create positive change in their neighborhoods. We are excited to see how our communities can grow with ready access to composting resources,” said Mayor Ed Gainey. 

In 2021, Pittsburgh was awarded a $90,000 grant through the USDA’s Community Compost and Food Waste Production Project, which provides federal funding to implement strategies for municipal compost and food waste production plans. This funding helped the City launch SoilMill PGH, a two-year pilot program to develop and test strategies for planning and implementing a citywide compost and food waste reduction plan, starting with City facilities and events. 

The first year of the pilot focused on research to gain insight into the current food systems in Pittsburgh to design a pilot program that matches the City’s needs. To launch the second year, the Sustainability & Resilience division is seeking up to 300 residents to test a variety of residential composting solutions, such as at-home composting, and investigate convenient pick-up and drop-off locations for users. They will also be testing composting at the Homewood Healthy Active Living Center, Carrick Community Center, City Farmers’ Markets, Park Shelters, and more. 

As part of the pilot, the City is seeking a part-time community coordinator to assist with composting projects. Interested residents can apply at  

“Pittsburgh is still experiencing some of the lasting ecological effects of the steel industry such as reduced air and soil quality,” said Principal Resilience Planner Aftyn Giles. “Composting is a great way to strengthen local soils with vital nutrients. By scaling our composting efforts citywide, we can begin to improve the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the local crops we eat.” 

To accomplish the pilot, the City has partnered with Ecotone Renewables, a system designed to help rehabilitate Pittsburgh soil and reduce food waste by adding nutrients from repurposed food waste while reducing water and air pollution, through the PGH Lab program. PGH Lab is a six-month partnership program that connects local startups with local government to support innovative practices that are more efficient, transparent, sustainable, and inclusive.  

City residents interested in participating should fill out the pilot interest form on EngagePGH. While no previous experience is required, all participants must live within City limits. Selected participants will be notified in March-April 2023 in advance of the launch in late spring. 

Learn more about the composting pilot and how to get involved on EngagePGH  




Maria Montano
Press Secretary
Mayor's Office
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