Who owns your kitchen scraps?

This woman started a worm composting business using kitchen scraps from the local food bank.
This is illegal, cause those scraps belong to the county waste facility.
The county sells organic waste to a biofuel company to produce energy. Sustainable, renewable energy is the METAR link.

Your trash doesn’t belong to you?



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Which just goes to prove my ongoing point: Property is only what we say it is. Something subject to endless definition and redefinition. I bought the food. Ergo I own all the rights to it, and all that follows from it is mine until such time as I sell it or otherwise transfer the rights to another (Last Will, charitable giving etc), or forfeit ownership rights via conviction of a crime for which one of the penalties is forfeiture of property. Private property rights. Unless, of course they simply write the law to say something else. Then what you bought and paid for and is yours is not yours because “that’s what the man says.”

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Collection of trash is under municipal contract much like other services are. As much as it sucks, it doesn’t matter what she does with the solid waste if the local government says that only one company can collect it.

At what point does the trash become county/city/local government property?

As soon as I push my plate away?
As soon as I put it in my kitchen trash can?
As soon as I put the trash bag in the city provided curbside -pickup garbage can?
As soon as I put the garbage can on the curb?

If, instead of putting the scraps in the garbage can, I put it in my home composter, or bury it in my flower bed, am I breaking the law?

Where is the boundary?

Restaurants collect and sell their “waste grease”. Restaurants own their waste grease.

Perhaps a judge/court will step in and define the boundaries?



I am thinking the problem is the scraps are coming from a food bank, that is, a charity. The food bank probably benefits from some agreement with the local PTB. Part of the agreement may be the county gets the solid waste.

As for her “subscribers”, private homes, the law may have a foundation in public nuisance or health concerns. The linked video only gives her side of the dispute.



At the point that you, the homeowner, decide it is solid waste to be removed from the home. Once you decide it is solid waste, you may only give it to the approved solid waste disposal company. Prior to that, you are welcome to do whatever you like with it, including putting it in your home composter.

I think there is an angle the worm company could have potentially done this differently. She might have been able to market her company as purchasing “leftovers” instead. Maybe.

Restaurants collect and sell their “waste grease”. Restaurants own their waste grease.

Not necessarily in this municipal area. It is probably within the powers of the municipality to sign an exclusive contract that you may only sell your waste grease to a single entity.

“Who owns your kitchen scraps?”

You own your kitchen scraps. But you do not own the kitchen scraps that were disposed of by a food bank. And you do not own the kitchen scraps that were placed in a trash bin to be collected by the local approved waste authority.

Want all those other scraps? Become an approved waste authority and get a contract with a locality.

Of course your trash belongs to you. But you’re required to dispose of it in accordance with applicable rules and regulations.

Per the article below, apparently she was cited for having an unlicensed solid waste disposal facility. If that’s the case, then she wasn’t in trouble because the scraps “belong to” the County waste facility. It’s because there’s a regulatory requirement that you can’t collect or transport solid waste, or run a solid waste disposal facility, without it being licensed and approved by the County. Which is pretty basic municipal waste regulation stuff.

It doesn’t appear to be ownership of the food waste that was the issue, but her activity in collecting food waste that wasn’t hers and bringing it to her property. You can’t do that.


Yes. There’re two story lines: the ownership and the bioenergy line, and then there’s the second, other law about operating an illegal waste collection.
They are using the collection angle to stop her.

If she can get a license to collect the food wastes, she might be ok?

I wonder if there’ll be a follow up, or if this is just click bait.


Probably, though she’s also probably not going to get a license. Waste streams are typically guaranteed under solid waste contracts with disposal facilities, and usually there’s an exclusive amount or area of service that the disposal company is granted, often in a formal franchise agreement.

Plus, odds are that her property isn’t zoned for a solid waste facility. Even better odds that her homespun composting setup doesn’t comply with the minimum standards for liners and leachate removal systems and other stuff that you have to have to operate a solid waste facility.