Why should I compost?

The average American person throws away 30 pounds of garbage a week. Of that, at least 20% is organic waste that could be composted.

What’s more, when the organic materials find their way into a landfill and attempt to break down naturally, they cannot.  Instead they release methane gas, which is a greenhouse gas approximately 20 times more powerful that carbon dioxide.

By composting and re-directing, that organic material is breaking down naturally and can be applied back onto land, helping enhance soil quality, prevent erosion and increase water retention.

What can I put in the bucket?

You Can Compost:


Coffee Grounds/Filters

Cooked/Fried Food


Egg Shells

Freezer-burned Foods

Fruits & Vegetables: peels/pits/seeds Grains: Pasta/bread/rice Seeds/Nuts/Nut shells

Processed Food

Powdered Milk


Rotten/Moldy Food


Compost ONLY IF it fits in your bin

BPI-Certified Compostable Ware

Hair Clippings- Human or Animal

Nail Clippings

Pencil Shavings


Wool/Dryer Lint

Fireplace Ashes

Garden/Yard Trimmings

Houseplant Trimmings



We do not accept:







Inorganic Materials

Plastic, Acrylic, Polyester, Rubber

Rubber Bands

Twist Ties

Animal or Human Waste Chemicals/Toxics

Cigarette Butts

Coal – Treated


Diseased Plants


Kitty Litter

Medicine/Medical Waste

Treated Woods

Used Tissues (due to COVID)


These Items May Be Compostable:



If loose → compost

Natural bag w/ NO staple  compost

Natural bag w/ staple → remove staple & compost

Unnatural bag → trash


Cardboard/Paper/Paper Products

If waxy → recycle or trash

If non waxy and greasy/covered in food → compost

If Clean → recycle


If natural → compost

If synthetic/wax coated→ trash

*We are not collecting up large amounts of yard waste, but will take seasonal items (pumpkins, cornstalks, pine boughs) as needed.

For a print out PDF of this list click here

Where exactly do you operate?

Today, we provide pick-up service to the following towns: Bala Cynwyd, Wynnewood, Penn Wynne, Narberth, Ardmore, Havertown, Haverford, Villanova, Gladwyne, St. David’s, Wayne, Devon, and Newtown Square.


Not seeing your town listed? Join our waiting list. We are adding new towns every day as demand increases.

Okay, I signed-up. What's next?

A bucket will be delivered to the address you provided within 2 business days, and you will be given a collection day.

Pick-ups are currently scheduled for every other week, and you can find always see your service dates in the calendar on your customer portal.

You will receive a reminder via e-mail & SMS the day before each pick up. Place your bucket out by the curb by 9pm the night before your collection, our drivers will service your bucket before 5pm on the day of your collection.

We leave you a clean bucket and the cycle repeats!

Can I sign-up if I live in an apartment building/complex?

If you live within our service area- yes!

Once you sign-up, a team member will reach out to you to discuss where is best to leave the bucket. We know that there can be rules as to where you can/cannot leave your bucket, so any location details you can give us is appreciated as we work together to find a location that is convenient for you and our drivers.

Where does it go?

Mother Compost has partnered with the folks over at Kitchen Harvest & Linvilla Orchards. All compostables will be taken to their on-farm composting operation where they monitor, turn and test the materials as they undergo the natural process of becoming compost.

Wait, do I put this bucket in my kitchen?

Most people put their bucket with their other trash bins and leave a countertop compost bin either on their counter or under their sink. Every day or so, just empty that into your bucket.

How often will you come?

As of today, we offer pick up’s on an every other week basis.

I filled my bucket and I’m still a week out. What do I do?

If you have a special week, like you hosted a major holiday, let us know and we will do our best to accommodate. We can provide a special pick-up for an additional fee, or drop you an extra container that we will take back at your next pick-up.

If you are consistently composting more every week, good for you! We offer additional buckets as needed, up to a max of 5 per household.

Will I get compost back?

Each subscriber is entitled to up to 60 pounds of compost each spring during our compost givebacks, which typically runs through March and early April.

I really want to try this but I’m not sure it will work for my life/family/dog/cat.

You can test out our services with our free month trail! During the trial you will not be charged, and will experience two collections to see if our service is right for you.

Additionally, you can  sign up for a monthly subscription and cancel at any time.

Are you doing any commercial businesses?

Yes, we are partnering with local businesses within our service area of the Main Line. If you are interested in getting your business composting, fill out our commercial questionnaire here or contact us at info@mothercompost.com to set up a free 15 minute consultation.

Why did you partner with Philabundance?

We feel strongly that their mission complements our own. When we are re-directing materials from the landfill, many times it is in the form of excess food. We want to send that back to the hungry in Philly so they can benefit in a small way from food heading to the compost pile.

Why do you charge $5 per bucket?

We made the decision to add the per container charge so we could continue to operate our service without changing our subscription costs. We ask our members to share this cost with us. Our team will continue to proactively ensure containers are clean and secure for our subscribers.
This is a one time non-refundable fee. When adding buckets to your subscription this fee will apply.

I missed my pickup - what should I do?

If you missed your collection, contact us via phone, email or the customer portal. If our driver is no longer on the road and you still need service, we have several options available to accommodate, which we have outlined below. 


  • We can drop you an additional container for a $5 fee. Container will be removed at next scheduled collection.
  • If you need materials removed, we can collect materials on the upcoming Friday for a $10 fee. Please submit requests by Thursday at 4pm



  • We can collect materials within 24hrs of request for a $15 fee during normal business hours M-F 9-5


Please reach out to us as soon as possible after your missed collection and let us know which solution works best for you.

Wait - I need to put my bucket(s) out the night before collection?

That is correct! We ask that you put your bucket out by 9pm the night before your scheduled collection day. Our drivers start their routes  between 4-5 am during collection days. To ensure that your bucket is out by the time our driver rolls around, we ask that you have it out the night before to avoid any unnecessary missed collections. 

My bucket is still not serviced and it's 10am?

Your individual service schedule will fluctuate as our routes continue to grow and add new subscribers. New members from week to week can change the layout of our routes dramatically, making your stop first one week and last the next.  We know this can be confusing, and have a feature to send you an email notification as soon as your bucket has been serviced so that you don’t have to wonder if we have come yet. If you would like to add this feature, head to service notifications in your customer portal or send us an email. 


Additionally, our drivers are out from 4am – 5pm on collection days. If your bucket has not been serviced between those hours do not worry, we are still on the way! If it is after 5pm, please contact us as perhaps we missed you ( we make mistakes too!) 

Do you take compostable to-go ware?

Currently, we do accept certain compostable ware. Please look for the BPI Compostable Certification logo on the label. This certification tells us that our pile can break it down without any issues. Certified according to the US Standard ASTM D6400.

bpi compostable

Items listed below with the BPI certification still cannot be accepted at this time: 

  • Compostable “plastic” utensils. They are not breaking down in the piles. Wood utensils are acceptable.  
  • Compostable wipes.


**In the name of wasting less, we continue to urge everyone to utilize reusable items whenever possible. Click here for a flyer with our recommendations on products that can be swapped for single use items. Trying just one can be a game changer!

Do you have a referral program?

Yes! Our program Give $5, Get $5 allows you to send your personalized link to neighbors and friends. Once they sign up, you both get $5 credited to your MC account. Access your link through your customer portal!

What do I do if there is roadwork affecting access to my home?

Please notify us right away so we can alert our drivers and work out a solution that works for both of us.


Composting in Bala Cynwyd, Wynnewood, Penn Wynne, Narberth, Ardmore,
Havertown, Haverford, Bryn Mawr, Villanova, St. David’s, Wayne and Devon.

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