Compost Services Beginning in Mountain View

The small but mighty town of Mountain View — just 12 square blocks nestled between Denver and Wheat Ridge — is offering its residents a new opportunity to reduce waste and improve on their carbon footprints.

Mountain View has announced an opt-in composting program for all interested residents, who can now pay a $22 monthly fee for a 32-gallon composting cart and weekly pickups. Participating Mountain View residents will have the option to get their donated compost returned to them in the form of processed and workable soil. A sign-up form for this program is available on Mountain View’s website.

Composting is the process through which organic materials (including food waste such as egg shells, banana peels and potato peels) are decomposed and converted into nutrient-rich fertilizer. The primary benefit of composting is reducing methane-emitting waste in landfills, and diverting up to 40% of residential waste from the landfill to compost, according to the CU Boulder Environmental Center.

Mayor Emilie Mitcham says that the idea for this effort came when two interested citizens gave a convincing presentation on composting to Mountain View’s city council.

“We didn’t know that we had enough people in town that wanted to [compost] and they really made the case for that,” Mitcham said. “They were so motivated — they put together flyers, and put them on everybody’s door, and asked ‘Are you guys interested in composting?’ They got close to 40 people interested.”

One of those citizens, Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly, says her involvement with composting stretches back to her childhood in rural Oregon.

“It felt really common sense to me that you wouldn’t put organic matter in a trash can, and you would just put it back into the earth,” Zimmerly said.

Before moving to Mountain View, Zimmerly lived in Oakland, CA and Denver — two cities which offer compost pickup. She and her neighbor Petra Conaway took it upon themselves to bring such a program to Mountain View. Zimmerly pointed out that making a change in this small town of just more than 500 residents felt very much within reach.

“If people want to see something happen here, there’s always a great opportunity for that.”

Summit Waste & Recycling is the current provider of trash and recycling services for the town of Mountain View. They are taking on the task of facilitating Mountain View’s composting program. Mayor Mitcham says that Summit has been diligent in educating the town’s citizens on what can and can’t be recycled,  and she is confident that they will also meet expectations in providing a composting program.

“[Summit is] doing a really good job of making sure that we’re not just pretending to recycle. So I’m trusting them to do the same thing with composting.” 

Summit’s Vice President and General Manager Robert Gutierrez says that the company has historically been successful within the realm of composting. They are currently the preferred provider of trash, recycling and composting services for several sustainable neighborhoods in Wheat Ridge and Lakewood. Gutierrez says that as more people opt to participate in the program, Summit will be able to look towards composting at their own site (as opposed to the third-party site they currently use) and finalize the details of the workable soil return service.

Sign-up for this program is available on along with a guide for what is and isn’t compostable.

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