In 2012, UCD opened The Dirt Factory, a community compost facility that transformed a vacant lot into a neighborhood asset.  The Dirt Factory collects organic waste from the community, provides compost to local growers and gardeners, and runs educational programming as well.  The compost produced at The Dirt Factory is used throughout UCD’s own public spaces, and we teach members of Green City Works, our social venture landscaping company, about the benefits of using natural, organic soil. 

The Dirt Factory is operated by Rachel Feigenbutz. Want to learn more about The Dirt Factory and Seth Budick, the program's founder? Click here to read a profile as part of our 20 Years, 20 Stories campaign celebrating 20 years of University City District. 

The Dirt Factory

Mission

The 
mission of the Dirt Factory is to:

  • Keep fallen leaves out of the waste stream, and in University City. 
  • Provide a location for the University City community to sustainably dispose of its food scraps and other organic waste 
Generate high quality organic compost to be used in University City gardens.
  • The Dirt factory features the high capacity Earth Tub Compost System that will 
produce compost year round from neighborhood organic waste. The Dirt Factory is also a community education center, featuring residential scale composting facilities, where community members can learn more about composting at home, and gardening using compost.

Location

The Dirt Factory is located at 4308 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Hours

The Dirt Factory is open during scheduled drop-off times, and for educational and community events. Currently, the scheduled drop-off time is 5-6pm every Wednesday and 10:30-11:30am every Saturday. Changes to this time will be posted at the top of this page.

Drop-Off

It is our goal to keep reducing waste and creating an organic, chemical free compost to share with gardeners. In the new year, we are evaluating what goes into our compost, to make the process more efficient, chemical free, and so we can start collecting more! Below we have added some new accepted items and removed problematic items that were accepted before.

As a rule of thumb, if your drop-off contains something you wouldn’t want added into your food, then it is probably not good for compost. Also be mindful that turning the compost is labor intensive, therefore make sure things like brown compostable to-go containers are cut up or as broken up as possible.  Please dump out your drop-off contents into composters even if they are in a brown compostable bag. Just toss the bag on top. Please contact us with any questions [email protected]

You can drop off up to (5) 1-gallon containers of organic food waste per week at The Dirt Factory. The facility is open for drop-off from 5-6pm every Wednesday and 10:30-11:30am on Saturdays.

Preferred

  • Certified organic/Chemical free drop-off items dopped off in a re-usable bucket or un-dyed brown bag. Let's try to end our relationship with plastic bags!

Accepted 

  • Corn Cobbs, Fruit Pits & Cores, Nut Shells, Fruit Peels, & Rinds
  • Beer Mash
  • Bread Grains & Rice
  • Shredded Newspaper without Colorful Ink
  • Old Herbs & Spices
  • Coffee Grounds, (Non-Bleached Filters) & Tea Bags
  • Egg Shells
  • Any Raw Vegetable/ Fruit Scraps/ Raw Fruit/ Veggies That Went Bad
  • Brown paper with NO colored dyes (black is ok) Brown Napkins/ Brown Envelopes/ Brown Packaging Materials/ Brown Bags/ Broken up Brown Compostable Food Cartons/ Cut Up Cardboard Paper Towel & Toilet Paper Roll Inserts  
  • Certified Organic Cut Flowers
  • Un-Treated Saw Dust from NON Pressure Treated Wood
  • House Plants & House Plant Clippings. Treated with NO Inorganic Plant Food/ Pesticides… Miracle Grow is a No No
  • Bags of Leaves/ Yard Waste/ Wood Ash (By Appointment Only Contact [email protected]
  • Dryer Lint (If You use Natural Laundry Detergent)
  • Hemp Products 
  • Shredded Up Naturally Dyed 100% Wool/Natural Fiber Clothing Items Please read the labels (No Cotton Due to Bleaching Concerns)
  • Straw & Hay
  • Bokashi Pickled Pre-Compost  

Not accepted 

  • No Commercial Drop-Offs (Community Residential Only)  
  • No Processed /Preserved Foods i.e No Veggies that have been cooked or Preserved (i.e no Pasta Sauce, Crackers, Leftovers)
  • Nothing that Looks like Plastic Not even compostable plastics. (This may change in the future)  
  • No Oils
  • No Animal/ Fish Products of any kind. This Means No Bones, Dairy, Meat, Fat, Hair, Feces (Find out about Bokashi for Composting these types of items)
  • No White Paper Products (No Paper towels, Tissue Paper, Mail, Bags, if it is white it has been Bleached
  • No Cut Flowers that aren’t Organic. They add harmful chemicals to preserve them 
  • No Pressure Treated Wood Saw Dust (carcinogenic chemicals are added)
  • No Sticks, Vines, or Twigs  
  • No Synthetic Fibers 

Pick-Up

Contact [email protected] if you are interested in obtaining finished compost from The Dirt Factory. UCD will contact you when material becomes available.

Upcoming Events

No upcoming events at this time.

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