What is the University City Food Recycling Project? The University City Food Recycling Project is a partnership between residents, businesses and institutions to reduce the amount of our neighborhood’s food that goes into landfills. Instead, our goal is to put excess food and food waste to good uses that benefit our community, including Feeding hungry people by donating edible food to neighborhood food pantries and transforming inedible food scraps into nutrient rich compost for growing healthy fruits and vegetables. Questions? Contact [email protected], or call 215 243-0555

University City Food Recycling Project

Why should I participate?


  • Reduce greenhouse gases: On average households throw away 14% of their food. In landfills, food scraps turn into methane, a greenhouse gas that is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide
  • Recycle your food into organic fertilizer: By composting your food scraps, you can transform them into nutrient rich compost that can be used by you or others to grow healthy food right here in the neighborhood


  • Earn tax deductions: The value of excess food donated to a food bank can be deducted from your taxes, while also reducing the amount of trash that you dispose of
  • Reduce trash disposal costs: By composting your food scraps and soiled paper products you may also be able to reduce your waste disposal fees Energize workers, improve morale: Employees value socially responsible employers
  • Enjoy good press: By participating, your business will be recognized as a partner in the University City Food Recovery Project with a window decal and inclusion in project promotion. In a survey, 60% of consumers said they prefer to go to restaurants with recycling programs. 
  • Help your community: By feeding the needy and reducing environmental impact

How do I participate?


  • Drop off your compostable food scraps for free: The Dirt Factory at 4308 Market St. accepts organic compostable waste on Wednesdays from 5:00 – 6:00 PM and Saturdays from 10:30 – 11:30 AM. Click here for details.
  • Sign up with a compost pick-up service: These services collect your compostable waste for a low monthly fee.

Bennett Compost picks up food and other organic waste from residents in University City and throughout Philadelphia for just $15/month. Click here for details.

Businesses & Institutions

Answer a few basic questions to determine what option is best for you:

  • Do you have unsold food at the end of the day that meets these criteria (link to pdfs)? If so, Philabundance can get that food to people in need. Contact Lisa Hodaei - (215) 339-0900 x1303, email [email protected] or Elizabeth Rosenberg - (215) 339-0900 x1301, email [email protected]
  • Do you generate scraps during food preparation or from post-consumer waste that you’re currently throwing away? These companies can help you find the right food recycling solution for your business in University City:

Organic Diversion is a food waste collection and recycling company focused on helping our customer lower operating costs through sustainable business practices. We provide waste analysis, operations plan, equipment & supplies, education & training, department signage, collection & transportation with on-site weighting, monthly follow-up, and monthly management reports.
Their program can help you make better purchasing decisions, lower labor costs, reduce shrink / distressed merchandise, increase donations, increase recycling rates, reduce trash & compactor pulls, and increase customer traffic.
Contact: (856) 988-7733 - www.organicdiversion.com

Philly Compost: The only local and woman-owned organics recycling company, Philly Compost has extensive experience training kitchen and maintenance staff, coordinating collections and demonstrating the cost effectiveness of its services. Philly Compost serves a wide variety of organizations - from bakeries to gourmet restaurants, private schools to public hospitals, specialty markets to major groceries, and professional offices to luxury hotels. Most of its customers save money by composting instead of trashing their food scraps. As members of the U.S. Composting Council and the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, staff are kept current on composting technologies and demonstrate commitment to the local business community. Contact Philly Compost to arrange a free consultation for your business.
Contact: (215) 703-SOIL (7645) - www.phillycompost.com/Home.html - [email protected]

Suburban Waste Services: Suburban Waste Services is a locally owned and operated hauling company with over 12 years of experience in solid waste and recycling services. With over 30 well maintained trucks in their fleet, their organics programs helps to minimize your environmental impact while reducing your overall waste disposal costs.
Contact: (302) 475-9780 - www.SuburbanWasteServices.com

These haulers of compostable waste will want to know:

  • What is the volume of food scraps you generate? (Haulers can help you estimate your volume based on the number of meals served, the number of seats in a restaurant, the percentage of your current garbage volume, etc.)
  • How much do you currently pay for trash removal, for what size containers, and how often are they emptied?
  • How much space do you have for waste storage? (this might affect your pickup schedule and container choices)

How can I let others know that I’m participating?

Food Recycling Project

Become a participant in the University City Food Recovery Project and receive a window decal identifying your home or business as a partner in this project.

Who else is participating in the University City Food Recovery Project?

Food Recycling Project Participants

Amtrak, 30th Street Station
12th Street Catering, 3312-20 Spring Garden Street
First Round Capital, 4040 Locust Street 
Four Worlds Bakery, 4634 Woodland Avenue
The Green Line Cafe, 4239 Baltimore Avenue, 3649 Lancaster Avenue, 4426 Locust Street
Mariposa Food Co-op, 4824 Baltimore Avenue
Metropolitan Bakery, 4013 Walnut Street
Parent-Infant Center, 4205 Spruce Street  

Individual stories

Linda Frankel, Amtrak
Wasted food has economic, environmental, and social impacts. Much of this “waste” is not waste at all, but actually safe, wholesome food that can make a difference in the SHARE program. I encouraged our merchants to consider participating in this program and to make it a part of their daily operations, Amtrak encourages involvement in our community in these challenging economic times.

Michele Leff, 12th Street Catering
12th Street Catering is an earth friendly company with a green philosophy reflected in all of our practices. We feature biodegradable plates and eating utensils made from bamboo & corn starch which we use for our off site events. We use compostable trash bags, compost all our of food scraps and have made a commitment to company-wide recycling.

Michael Dolich, Four Worlds Bakery
We started composting in 2006 when we started the bakery in our home. It just made sense since we always put a big value on leaving a small footprint. As the business grew, composting helped our bottom line; as a composter, we were exempt from the health department requirement for a food grinder (a big expense) and we avoided the added costs of paying to have our garbage hauled away. Also our garbage didn't get really smelling and disgusting. After composting and recycling, we now generate just two home sized garbage bags a week, a very small amount for a retail bakery. After so many years composting, we now have developed outright disgust in throwing away food waste; a complete change in paradigm from the old ways of just throwing away scraps in the garbage.

Bull Gervasi, Produce & Facilities Manager, Mariposa Food Coop
Composting is very important to us because so much of what is otherwise thrown away can be converted into a soil building beneficial product. It is an easy way to remove a large percentage of waste going to landfills which improves air quality, reduces pesticide use and improves soil quality. As an organization committed to true sustainability composting is another way we work towards that goal.

Jim Lilly, Metropolitan Bakery
We compost for all the traditional reasons - reduced waste, etc. But the most important reason we do it is because - without sounding too high-minded - as a business in today's world, it's the right thing to do for the community and the greater good of everyone.

Alison Williams, Parent Infant Center
Our Roadrunners took the lead in coordinating our compost collection.  All week our classrooms collect their food scraps and hold them in the freezer.  On Tuesdays, one of the Roadrunner teachers takes a small group of kids around the entire center with collection bins.  Since we began collecting more than our worm bins could handle, we started coordinating collection for The Dirt Factory.  As stewards of the environment, composting is very important to the Parent-Infant Center.  Just see what our Roadrunners have to say about it. 

"When you compost it helps the environment. The environment is the Earth and where everybody lives. We don't want to pollute the Earth because the Earth can't feel good when you pollute."

"Composting is when there's a kind of thing, like say an apple. You don't eat all the apple all over because there's a grind in it, and you put it inside a worm thing and the worms eat it all up."

"Compost turns banana peels and orange peels into soil. The worms can get more energy when they eat the compost that we don't want to eat. They eat it and they make it into soil."

Green Line Cafe

Douglas Witmer, Co-Owner, Green Line Cafe
SHARE came with an very simple donation process that made it very easy for us to participate. Now all five of our Green Line Cafe locations are able to donate leftover items to a local food pantry with a consistent pickup schedule. It feels great to avoid throwing away food and also to know it's being used by folks here in our University City District neighborhood.