You’ve always wanted to compost, but don’t have the space, the time, or ‘know-how’.  Does that sound familiar???  You now have the opportunity to remove the food waste from both your true garbage and from the regional landfill.  Your garbage volume will be reduced considerably, the methane produced from adding your compostable material to the landfill will be reduced, and the soil in the earth will be improved through the addition of compost made from this part of your garbage.  Almost a “no-brainer”!  But below, you can read how you will need to use your brain to go about this process the right way.



  1. Place ONLY those listed items below in some type of covered storage container that you can add to regularly.  You can use something as simple as a bucket with a lid or you might purchase a container dedicated for this.  It can be stored under your sink or on your countertop.  If you choose to line your container, only use certified compostable bags (available at the food drop-off site). Bags labeled "biodegradable" are not the same as certified compostable bags. 

  2. If your container fills quickly, you may want to store your food waste in your freezer between drop-off visits.

  3. Bring your compostable waste to the Saturday Staunton Farmers’ Market between 8-12 a.m. Spring through Fall. After the end of the Farmers' Market season, you will be able to drop off your compostable waste 9-10 a.m. on Saturdays in the parking lot area of Sunspots Pavilion on Byers St.

  4. Only place approved compostable waste into the Black Bear Composting bins.  Contamination from non-compostable waste will ruin our opportunity to compost the entire bin. Thank you, in advance, for being careful!


 * Fruits and Vegetables

 * Plate Scrapings

 * Coffee Grounds & Filters, Tea Leaves and Bags

 * Egg Shells

 * Meat & Bones

 * Milk & Milk Products

 * Fats, Cooking Oils, Greases

 * Uncoated Paper: paper towels & napkins

 * Certified Compostable Plastics



  1. Follow the guidelines above.

  2. There is no fee for this Shenandoah Green project.  However, donations are appreciated to offset our costs for this service.  Black Bear Composting is a viable business, and Shenandoah Green supports their efforts in helping to make our Shenandoah Valley more environmentally sustainable.

  3. Volunteer to help staff the drop-off site.

  4. Spread the word.



There will always be a volunteer at the Farmers’ Market who can answer your questions. 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about 

Food Waste Collection 


Do you take compostable, water soluble packing peanuts?

Yes! Black Bear Composting can turn those into great organic soil.


I don’t have any compostable bags; can I use a brown paper bag?

Yes! Your compostables can be dumped directly from another container or placed in a paper bag, paper box (remove any plastic tape and/or plastic labels) or BPI-certified compostable “plastic” bag.


I’d like to purchase some compost; is that possible?

Compost is available for sale from Black Bear Composting,, 888/666-4172. 


How do I sign up for food waste collection at my home? 

Reach out to Black Bear Composting,, 888/666-4172.


I have so much food waste that it’s attracting fruit flies and starting to smell. Any suggestions? 

Add a paper towel or any non-glossy paper to your kitchen bin to soak up the excess moisture that small insects love. Consider storing excess food waste in the freezer, or in a larger bin outside, until you can bring it to the market on Saturday. You could also store your kitchen bin in the refrigerator to slow the decomposition process. 


Can I bring my yard waste such as grass trimmings, weeds, and brush? 

We are only accepting food waste at this time. If you would like to compost yard waste, consider setting up food waste and yard waste collection at your house through Black Bear Composting,, 888/666-4172.


What is the charge for taking my food waste? 

Nothing!  That’s why your donations are so important because they cover our fees. We hope to enlist the City of Staunton as a partner in the future once we show how eager residents are to take advantage of this service – so keep the food waste coming! 


What kind of bags are compostable? 

Look for Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI)-certified compostable “plastic” bags. Note that some bags say they are biodegradable, but are not compostable; look for this image. This certifies that the product completely biodegrades in a commercial-scale composting environment.