The contemporary U.S. waste stream poses threats to environment, human health, and economy, but is managed to a point of near-invisibility by private haulers and municipal collection. However, a variety of actors and groups are working to make these problems visible, to pose alternatives to a throwaway culture and to “fix” the waste system. In this project, I work with one such group—an assortment of activists, researchers, organizers and farmers called Troy Compost—that opposes itself to a variety of structural problems in the U.S. waste system, as well as large-scale shifts toward forms of resource recovery that privilege industry, greenwash waste problems, and move resources out of communities. Instead, Troy Compost is working to develop a waste system that privileges the local and radically questions the division between waste and resource. In order to examine the cultural innovations developed in this context, I use participant observation at meetings and interviews with activists, I examine reports and public presentations, and work with the group to design and implement an alternative, decentralized resource recovery system for food and yard waste. How do these actors imagine the relationships between waste and ownership, innovation, justice, environment and health? And how do these imaginaries of waste and society draw from and challenge status-quo formulations of waste problems, recovery solutions, and the responsibilities of individuals?