All summer long, the South Madison Farmers’ Market and the Eastside Farmers' Market have hosted food scraps recycling.

Residents can bring certain food scraps to either of these locations on Tuesday evenings. From there, the scraps are hauled to the Neighborhood Food Solutions farm in Fitchburg where all of the egg shells, coffee grounds, apples cores and so on are composted so the nutrients can be returned to the soil.

Since June 14 when the market sites began, they have collected 9,698 pounds of food scraps.

That’s heavier than two electric Chevy Bolts; heavier than 7 adult Holstein cows; heavier than 10 concert grand pianos. And it’s more than double the weight of the entire Madison Forward roster!

It is a lot. And we can do even more.

We have just two weeks left for the food scraps collection at these markets.

Let’s get all the way to 10,000 pounds of food waste collected, composted and kept out of the landfill.

The next market drop-off date is Tuesday, October 18. Let’s go!

Hours and Locations for Food Scraps Recycling

The South Madison Market is located at 1602 S. Park Street, which is the corner of South Park Street and West Wingra Drive on the ground of the Madison Labor Temple. Food scraps drop-off is available on Tuesdays from 2:00pm to 6:00pm. The last day to drop off food scraps this season is October 25, 2022.

The Eastside Farmer’s Market is located at 202 S. Ingersoll Street, which is the entrance to McPike Park. Food scraps drop off is available Tuesdays from 4:00pm to 7:00pm. The last day for drop off here is October 25, 2022.

How is this program possible?

The City of Madison received a community composting grant from the United States Department of Agriculture. With these funds, we were able to secure the help of Sustain Dane who has been able to provide staffing and logistical support to make this collection possible.

What can I take to the market?

The food scraps collected here are taken to a farm for composting, so the materials accepted are restricted to what can typically go into a backyard compost container.

Coffee grounds, egg shells, raw fruits (including peelings & cores) and raw vegetables (including peelings, husks, etc.) are some of the material that can be accepted.

You can use this guide for guidance, or contact the Streets Division, or consult with Sustain Dane at the food drop-off tent.

Long term, how do we solve the food scraps problem?

Collecting 10,000 pounds of food scraps would be an amazing and noteworthy outcome for the two market locations. Our community, however, creates over 10,000 tons of food scraps every year – most of which goes into the landfill, taking up space and creating greenhouse gasses.

So, what do we do?

The Streets Division’s Food Scraps website breaks it down into four steps – Plan. Use. Create. Scrap.

Making a careful meal plan can save you money and prevent making waste.

With the food from your plan, store it properly to extend its life and use it.

And for the leftovers and past-its-prime foods, create new dishes. And for those in commercial kitchen settings, create opportunity for others by safely donating your excess to those in need.

And finally, compost the food waste you can through the farmers’ market drop-off sites or maybe even your own backyard. In the years ahead, we can look forward to the Dane County sustainability campus bringing our community one more option to help recycling our food scraps.

For more information about how to prevent and compost food scraps, please visit

This content is free for use with credit to the City of Madison - Mayor's Office and a link back to the original post.

Category: Sustainability