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. 


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 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.


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


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.


Leaves: UCD collects bagged leaves and wood chips from the neighborhood for 
processing at The Dirt Factory. Do you have bagged leaves or wood chips? Contact [email protected] to arrange pickup.

You can also drop off up to 5 gallons 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.


Beer Mash
Coffee Grounds
Egg Shells
Flour & Cornmeal
Grass Clippings
Fruits And Vegetables
Pine Needles
Shredded Hardwood
Stale Bread
Straw And Hay

Not accepted 

Colored Newsprint or Paper
Cat Litter
Potted plants and dead vegetable plants (e.g. tomato plants)
Grease, Fat, Oil
Human Waste
Inorganic Waste
Pet Feces
Yard waste (other than leaves, pine needles, and grass clippings) such as hedge trimmings, vines, sticks and twigs, etc.
Tough or woody plant material
Wood (if not shredded)


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.