Over the past few years, a number of cities across the United States have passed recycling regulations that limit the amount of food scraps sent to local landfills—while also easing the restrictions that hampered alternative means of disposing of organic waste.
As a result, farmers, eco-minded entrepreneurs, and nonprofits have launched companies and programs that turn composting into a community affair.
South Jordan, Utah
EcoScraps recycles organic matter from stores and restaurants, converting it into compost, fertilizer, and potting soil, all sold nationally.
Compost Crusader consults with the hosts of festivals, fundraising events, and weddings on how to throw low- or zero-waste affairs. The company provides supplies and removes food scraps, which it incorporates into the compost it makes from residential and commercial pickups.
Founded by a network of area farmers who needed high-quality compost for growing fruits and vegetables, Vermont Compost accepts kitchen scraps from eco-conscious consumers, who drop their stuff in a bin at the end of the company’s driveway.
The can-do team at Bootstrap Compost co-opts bicycle trailers, hand trucks, and vans to haul food waste from subscribers (condo residents, café owners) to local farms. Once the compost is cured, it’s used on the farms, but subscribers get an allotment for their own gardening projects, too.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Since 2010, CompostNow has helped Research-Triangle and Asheville area residents divert one-third of their household garbage from landfills. The company swaps clean bins out for full ones, and members “earn” portions of the resulting compost, which they can keep or donate to local gardens.
Veteran Compost employs former military servicemen to bring food waste from residences, businesses, and schools in the D.C.-metro area to the firm’s wind-powered farm, where the refuse gets turned into organic compost available for purchase online.
The bicycle-powered fleet at nonprofit GRAS/ReSoil Sacramento nabs kitchen scraps from area restaurants and delivers them to local farms, community gardens, and schools to turn into compost for their vegetable plots.