Analysis of Final Survey Results


Eliese Ottinger, Raghav Bhan, Ashhwath Chandramohan, Nandhini Devaraj


December 10, 2023


The United States generates over 100 billion pounds of food waste every year. Additionally, 1 in 5 pounds of trash sent to landfills is food waste. What if we could reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills by diverting food waste or other materials? Composting is an environmentally friendly alternative to other waste disposal methods like trash and recycling, though it is not offered as widely as these other services in the USA, including in DC. While composting services exist in DC, participation in these programs is limited. It is an existing process and could be a solution to diverting food waste from landfills, but how can we get people to compost? This project seeks to analyze the market for composting services to identify the ideal program to minimize costs to run the program while increasing participation in composting. A sample of the market for composting services will be surveyed regarding interest in participating in composting programs when the program cost, location, frequency, and accepted materials of the program change. This data assists in designing the service by informing us of customer priorities in composting programs, such as their preference for more accepted materials, lower prices, and disposals picked up at their doorstep similarly to trash services.


Composting is a waste disposal method that is restricted to certain materials. Unlike recycling, where waste may still end up in landfills with garbage, composting is a more environmentally friendly way to dispose of natural waste. Composting reduces the amount of waste headed for landfills and recycles nutrients essential to growing plants. Compost can be used as fertilizer in landscaping and agriculture. Composting services are not widely available in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area, though a variety of services are available to dispose of compost. Despite this fact, a majority of people don’t choose to compost, likely because of financial or inconvenient barriers. Existing programs require the participant to deliver their own compost or pay to participate. This project seeks to identify the ideal service that will circumvent these barriers such that people choose to actually use it. Our program will receive compost, through either pick-up or drop-off, and properly dispose of it.