Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I see Empire Zero is now Natural Upcycling? How do I contact you now?

A: We are in the process of transitioning websites, but our contact # is 585.584.3122 should you have any questions or concerns. All customers have been contacted and that transition was fairly seamless over the course of Summer 2017.


Q: How do I sign up for residential curbside pickup?

A: Click here to join the residential program and start composting today!


Q: What can I place in my bucket? 

A: All food waste (including meat, bones, and dairy products), coffee filters, egg shells, tea bags, food-soiled paper products (napkins, paper towels, pizza boxes, unlined paper plates, paper cups, and BPI or ASTM 6400 certified compostable cutlery and other products), parchment paper, lint, and pet food. 

Please recycle plastics, metal, and glass, and leave out hygiene products and human and pet waste. If you have any specific questions please let us know!


Q: When is my pick up?

A: Our residential pick-up day varies by route, but we do ask that you place your bucket out the night before so we don't miss you in the morning! Please contact us for more details and to learn how to get service in your area.


Q: Where should I place my bucket on pick-up days?

A: Though we enjoy the convenience of emptying your buckets from the curb, they are sometimes mistaken for recycling or landfill material and taken by other waste haulers. Please place your bucket at least five feet back from the curb to avoid this misunderstanding, or get in touch with us and we'll work out a location together!


Q: Can I change my pick-up day?

A: Not at the moment, as we only run the residential route one day per week. Once we grow the program we will add in more days.


Q: How often does my bucket get picked up?

A: Once per week.


Q: How do I hold or suspend service?

A: By logging into your account on our website and using the “Delivery Hold” feature. You can place your service on hold temporarily or suspend your service indefinitely. Don't worry, this can always restart your service with a few simple clicks.  There is no charge for placing your service on hold, and we will be notified instantly. The Delivery Hold feature will only work if you activate it at least 48 hours ahead of time. 

If you’re having trouble with this feature let us know and we’ll walk you through it! You can also call or email us to place your account on hold. 


Q: How do I pay for service?

A: You can pay online by logging into your Farmigo account.  You can set up recurring payments or “pay-as-you-go” using a bank account, credit card, check, or Pay Pal.  You can also pay for a set number of months in advance. Your choice!


Q: How many buckets will I need?

A: This depends on the output of food waste from your residence. We recommend 2 buckets for households of 3 or more, especially if you have any children. Otherwise 1 bucket works for smaller households.


Q: Will my bucket smell?

A: Normally the buckets do not smell. Your bucket comes with a screw on lid and a compostable liner in order to help deter odors and contains the natural liquids that might build up during the week before your pickup. We highly recommend lining the bottom of the bucket with several sheets of newspaper or paper towels and/or sprinkling some baking powder in the mix. If you brew your own coffee, spread the fresh grounds on top of your other food scraps! 


Q: What if my bucket is full and I have extra scraps?


A: If you know in advance that you will have extra waste you can order a one-time extra bucket through our Web Store. We will drop it off with your next pick-up. Bagging and freezing your food waste is also a good idea, as this will slow down the decomposition process and you can hold onto it until your next pickup. If you are hosting an event and want to many extra containers we are working on an Event Composting division this year.


Q: What communities do you serve?

A: Our residential program has number of routes throughout the Capital District, including a popular one through Albany and Bethlehem. Others include the Uncle Sam Route (Schodack, East Greenbush, North Greenbush, Troy, Waterford, Green Island, and Cohoes), Colonie Route, the Electric City Route (Niskayuna and Schenectady), and the Hudson Route. Check out our sign up page for wait lists for other communities!


Q: Is there a referral program?

A: We reward our residential members for every new member! If you have a potential referral, direct them to our residential webpage and make sure they write your name in the sign-up comments so you get credit.


Q: Do you serve offices, cafes or restaurants?

A: Yes! Empire Zero services commercial locations throughout the Capital Region and Berkshire County.  See more about our commercial program here and be sure to check out our compost partners here


Q: What if I don’t want or need any finished compost?

A: That’s fine. You can opt out of the compost exchange by letting us know. We will ensure that it is put to good use!


Q: Do I need to be on-site for pickups?

A: Nope. Just place your container out the night before and we will empty it and leave you a new compostable or plastic liner as soon as we can!


Q: What about animals and bugs?

A: Flies and other insects may tend to hover in the warmer months, but we take cleanliness very seriously. The Gamma lid provided with each bucket will keep out pests if secured correctly. If you’re having a recurring pest problem please let us know.


Q: What if my bucket was taken or broken and needs to be replaced?

A: Your first replacement bucket is on us, though it may not have the same screw-on Gamma lid as the original. Should you need another you will be charged an extra service fee.