Composting 101

Composting at McIntire Recycling Center and Ivy Material Utilization Center

Rivanna Solid Waste Authority has a food waste composting program at McIntire Recycling Center and Ivy MUC. Compostable food waste from households is accepted in compostable bags; complimentary bags are offered to users of this program at the McIntire or Ivy MUC composting kiosks.


How to Compost

  • Collect
    • Find a small pail or countertop container
    • Place it under your kitchen sink or near your kitchen trash can
    • Line your container with a compostable bag provided for free at McIntire or Ivy MUC
    • Collect your compostable items in container
  • Store
    • Store your bags of compostable items in an accessible location. If it becomes smelly, place in the freezer or tie it off and use a second compostable bag
  • Bring
    • Bring your compost in compostable bags to McIntire or Ivy MUC

Composting at Ivy Brochure  /  Composting at McIntire Brochure

Question or concerns? email

  • Fruits & vegetables
  • Nuts, Grains & rice
  • Egg shells
  • Flowers
  • Coffee grounds & filters
  • Proteins Meat & bones
  • Fats, cooking oils & greases (Incidental)
  • Milk & yogurt
  • Uncoated paper (napkins/towels)
  • Certified Compostable Packaging
  • Trash
  • Diapers
  • Clothing
  • Fats, cooking oils & greases (larger amounts, free-flowing, ex: cooking oil from a fryer)
  • Styrofoam
  • Pet waste
  • Cigarette butts
  • Snack bags
  • Candy wrappers
  • Plastic bags of any kind
  • Yard Waste
  • If you have a question on a particularly confusing item that you are not sure is compostable, please leave it out.


Frequently Asked Questions


Q: What happens to the material the composting stations collect?

A: The food waste from the Ivy Material Utilization Center is collected by a company called Black Bear Composting. They turn the collected food waste material into compost at their commercial composting facility in Crimora, VA (permitted by the VA DEQ).

The food waste from the McIntire Recycling Center is collected by Natural Organic Process Enterprise (N.O.P.E.), who brings the organic material to their partner facility, McGill Environmental in Waveryly, VA for composting.

Q: What happens with the food waste once it turns to compost?

A: Food waste transforms into valuable compost for commercial and residential soil-amendments, top cover, soil remediation, storm water management, and erosion control.

Q: How will you make sure everything breaks down fully, and that the final compost product is free from things like E Coli or Salmonella?

A: The compost is carefully monitored: the composting piles are circulated to ensure that they reach the high temperatures required to kill pathogens and bacteria, and to fully break down the material. It’s all part of the required process for a facility to be permitted and is regulated by the VA DEQ. See or learn more.

Q: Will we be able to get garden-ready compost back at some point?

A: RSWA is completing a Master Plan for possible service at the IMUC and this will be considered.

Q: When is the Composting Drop-Off Station available?

A: The Composting Station is able to accept material during normal operation hours. Collected materials will be moved to an off-site commercial composting facility to be processed.

Q: Does it cost money to participate in this program?

A: This program is free to residents and we provide free compostable bags at IMUC and McIntire. The fee for businesses is $178 per ton.

Q: Are dead (or alive) plants okay to include into the compost?

A: Yes, only household, potted plants. Yard waste is not accepted.

Q: I have filled up one of my compostable bags, but it’s only Wednesday and I can’t drop it off until Saturday! I am worried about the smell. What should I do?

A: An easy fix for this is to tie off the filled bag and stick it in your freezer. This will contain any smells. If you find that one bag isn’t enough to get you through the week, you can take an extra from the McIntire or Ivy MUC Composting Station.

Q: Where can I find the compostable bags locally?

BPI certification label

BPI certification label

A: Kroger, Whole Foods, and Bed, Bath & Beyond carry the 3 gallon compostable bags (“Biobag” brand). Look for the BPI-certified logo (show at right).

Q: You mention composting produces less methane than organic waste (food waste, etc) in a landfill. How?

A: Composting is an aerobic process which decomposes and sterilizes organic materials.  This organic process produces carbon dioxide (CO2), but does not produce methane (as it would if landfilled) which is more than 20 times more potent as a greenhouse gas.