Frequently Asked Questions
YES! I’m compostable:
- Food scraps/leftovers
- Fruit and vegetable trimmings
- Meat, bones, dairy, oils (not more than 10% of bucket contents)
- Breads, cereals, rice, grains
- Coffee grounds and unbleached paper coffee filters
- Natural fiber tea bags (remove staples)
- Plant trimmings from organic gardens that haven’t been sprayed
- Unbleached/inked napkins and paper towels soiled with organic material (no oily shop towels or napkins soaked in cleaning solution)
- Cardboard soiled by food like pizza. If clean, please recycle.
- All to-go PLA (corn plastic) or paper containers and utensils specifically labelled as “compostable”
NO! I’m NOT compostable:
- Trash or recycling: clean cardboard, #1 and #2 plastics, glossy paper, aluminum foil and aluminum cans
- Non-compostable plastics, plastic film, Styrofoam
- Waxed paper and waxed cardboard
- Latex or rubber gloves
- Fruit and vegetable stickers, tags, labels, and rubber bands
- Dryer lint
- Pet waste and hair
- Ornamental flowers (these are often sprayed with herbicides and pesticides)
- Yard waste and grass clippings (we offer separate services for yard waste collection)
We have two pickup routes that are collected biweekly on Tuesdays after 9am.
Download the 2024 Route Schedule
- What if I can’t put my bucket out? Don’t worry about it. We’ll leave you a clean one anyway! Fill it up or set it out with your next regularly scheduled pickup. First one of the year is always free. If you are unable to place your bucket outside, please let us know by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or texting 406.449.6008 on the day of collection.
- Can I compost yard waste? Yes! We offer seasonal yard waste composting. Leaves, ornamental flowers, and dead plants are accepted separate from food waste. Use a paper grocery bag or ask us for large compostable sacks! Separate charges may apply. Contact 406 Compost for details and to arrange pickup.
- What if I need an extra bucket? We offer extra buckets for an extra $5 per month per bucket. Forget to leave your bucket out? We’ll still drop one off, just leave the extra bucket outside at the next pickup date.
- What about pizza boxes? We can dispose of greasy pizza boxes. Simply rip or cut the soiled pieces from the clean cardboard and add it to your bucket. Make sure to recycle the clean cardboard!
- Can I compost grease? Yes! Avoid putting hot grease into your compost bucket. Wait for the grease to cool and then scrape the solids into your bucket. Hot grease can melt your bucket!
- Can I compost shredded paper? No! Shredded paper is not compostable. But there are services in town that will recycle it! Helena Recycling and the transfer station accept shredded paper.
- Can I compost my Jack-O-Lantern? Set your Halloween pumpkins and decorative gourds out with your compost bucket and they will be composted. No need to smash your pumpkin to fit it in the bucket, we’ll take it whole.
- Do you offer services for events? Yes! We provide bins for recycling and compost, as well as compostable dishes, to-go boxes, and flatware from EcoMontana. We set everything up and haul it away, so all you need to focus on is having a great time.
- What if I live outside of your service area? Our exchange sites are a great option if you live out of town or our pickup schedule doesn’t work for you. We provide lockers at the Good Samaritan Thrift Store and the Real Food Market for your convenience. Drop off your full bucket, mark your name and the date on the lid, and take home a clean bucket.
- Do you accept large quantities of used cooking oil? Yes! We take vegetable oil at $5/gallon. Please separate your oil into a clean bottle for disposal.
Thanks for supporting 406 Compost & being part of a greener Helena!