State of Composting in the US: What, Why, Where & How

A recent article in Biocycle points to the importance of composting at a small scale - as this is the only means by which we can truly combat the disastrous economic and environmental impacts accrued through the transportation of our waste. Accordingly, some states such as Vermont and Connecticut have even enforced a proximity rule, meaning that food waste will only be properly composted if it is picked up at an establishment within 20 miles of the composting facility.  Even though many municipalities want to enforce composting at the residential level, they do not have the funding, nor the infrastructure capable of handling the amount of food residuals we create as individuals any time soon. 

Looking to still make an impact, many cities such as Boston & Austin look to private companies to handle the business of composting.  Both of these cities, in fact, have a pedal-powered program.  Boostrap Compost serves Boston, while the East Side Compost Pedallers work to reduce the deposit of food waste in Austin's landfills.  According the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, here's why we've all got it right:

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Loving Gainesville Compost

We had an enlightening and affirming conversation with Chris Cano today - CEO (Compost Experience Officer) of Gainesville Compost.  He's been collecting food scraps and churning out high-quality compost for the City of Gainesville for 3 years now - and the advice from a pro will assuredly be put to good use in our neck of the woods.  We're definitely looking forward to more conversations in the future and the potential to own one of our very own Kanner Karts bicycle trailers!  Look at how phenomenal these hand-crafted, mega-towing, awe-inspiring trailers are:

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Come and See Us Tuesday

This upcoming Tuesday, August 5th, we will have a booth set up at the Audubon Park National Night Out event at the Audubon Park Covenant Church.  While here, you can certainly join the program and learn all about the impact your involvement in Compost Orlando can have.  We'll be there with the director of the Audubon Park Community Garden - a partnership we are quite keen on!  We cannot wait to see our how our nutrient-rich soil will help this garden to grow...and how we can eventually transform the currently underutilized composting bins into a neighborhood amenity!
 


We're Up and Running!

It’s official! Our first composting facility was installed today.  After taking out a little bit of a much-hated eyesore of a tree, we cleared the way for a perfect spot to place our hand-made bin.  The redworms were loving their new home amongst the sugarcane, arrowroot, and ornamental sweet potato vine.  And we had enough dry leaf debris to make the perfect resting spot for our first layer of ‘green” waste…starting it up right!  Thanks again Sarah for helping us to figure out the lay of the land. We hope the church enjoys the new landscaping option!

Our Like-Minded Neighbors to the North

In order to feasibly retain our mission to keep the economic and environmental costs associated with the transportation of our waste at a minimum, we understand that we must secure small composting facilities in different neighborhoods around town.  Our first community composting partner, Audubon Park Covenant Church, rationally understood the implications of running our program with yet another municipal dump truck.  Plus, they just loved the vision of us toting in food scraps to their building via bicycle - providing a resource that can be utilized to sustain their landscape.  Knowing that we can't be cycling all around town in the ridiculous Florida heat, we need to create mini-commutes within our participating neighborhoods.  Another cycle-powered program generating national attention, Gainesville Compost, also took this approach.  To date, they have ten composting partners around town.  We too are actively seeking other sites - particularly in Colonialtown and Baldwin Park.  But, we're open to ideas for all of Orlando!  Please email us if you would like to consider being a part of our program at compostorlando@gmail.com.

Innovation at It's Best! You've gotta check out the hauling capabilities created by local business Kanner Karts

Innovation at It's Best! You've gotta check out the hauling capabilities created by local business Kanner Karts

Mind-Boggling EPA Statistics

You've gotta check out the series of incredible infographics created by the EPA using their analysis of municipal solid waste collected in just 2012 alone.  They offer staggering statistics presented in a manner which should ignite a passion for the proper disposal of our waste! As a nation, we are certainly making great strides.  For example, over 19 million tons of yard trimmings were composted in 2012, a quantity almost 5 times as much as that collected in 1990!

Want to know more? Check out the entire 2012 report by clicking on the image here. 

Want to know more? Check out the entire 2012 report by clicking on the image here. 

Austin's Inspiring East Side Compost Pedallers

One of our sources of inspiration, the East Side Pedallers are not only actively meeting their mission to strengthen both the community and the local food system, but they have an awe-inspiring website as well!  We love their rewards program called The Loop, in which the weight of scraps residents turn in can be exchanged for loop points.  The accumulated  points can be redeemed to get a wide variety of goods from local businesses in the area.  They even provide the opportunity to earn a pretty sweet Fairdale Bicycle!  We hope that as our program grows, we too will be able to provide such a program with similar partnerships gained with local restaurants and like-minded, creative business owners!  We too will be weighing the food you turn in so that we can better understand the environmental impact we are having...this seem likes a valuable and gosh-darn fun natural extension to this data collection.  Here, here for creating our own form of compost currency!  You've gotta check it out.

Click here to see more on how Austin's got it right!

Click here to see more on how Austin's got it right!


An Eye-Opening Documentary by World-Renowned Artist Vik Munoz

A must-see film for any sustainability-enthusiast!  Vik Muniz is a native-Brazilian artist long-known for his innovative compositions made up of a variety of raw materials - including sugar, hole-punched paper, chocolate syrup, even the remnants left on a plate.  He has long been fascinated with the concept of human consumption and the waste left behind.  Part art history, part political-expose, and environmentally-minded, his masterpieces are both shocking and captivating.  The body of work created in this documentary chronicles the true stories of people working in the world's largest landfill just off of the coast of Rio de Janeiro.  Heart-wrenching at times, inspirational throughout, you will be captivated by the determination and grit captured in those noble workers who sift through our trash.  It is one that I always recommend and seems to always impress.  For clips, imagery of the art created, and bios on the 5 noble catadores who inspired them, I encourage you to visit the website: