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An east metro food scraps pickup program that lets residents throw their compostable waste in the trash is now available in five more Washington County communities.

Under the program, residents of some Ramsey and Washington County cities can order free food scraps bags, fill them with compostables, tie them shut and throw them in their curbside trash carts.

At the counties' Recycling and Energy Center, AI-powered robotic arms identify the food scrap bags by color and size and pull them out of the trash stream to be turned into compost.

As of April 1, the Food Scraps Pickup Program is available in Grey Cloud Island Township, Landfall, Oakdale, St. Paul Park and Woodbury in addition to Maplewood, North St. Paul, Cottage Grove and Newport, where it was previously available.

The program is different than other communities' composting programs because it doesn't rely on separate carts for food scraps.

"We're probably one of the first communities with this size of a program to do it this way," Sam Holl, Recycling & Energy Center facility manager, told the Star Tribune last year.

So far, nearly 4,200 households in the original four cities have signed up for the program.

The program is expected to be available in all Ramsey and Washington County communities eventually. More information can be found at