The vast majority of the US does not live in a city / town that offers curbside composting. Traditionally this has meant that if you want to compost, you need to set up your own home or backyard composting system. For some folks this is easy - they have acres of land and setting up a compost pile is a piece of cake.
For city dwellers however it's a bit more difficult. Backyards are scarce, sometimes shared, and often small. Indoor composting options are available, but they can be expensive (e.g., the Naturemill starts at $249) and the cheaper home-made options can be smelly or attract bugs.
And that's just for your home. Now think about running an eco-minded restaurant or cafe where you have 10x the waste of a household. You're trying to move toward zero-waste and compost your food scraps (and even your food packaging)... but you don't have a backyard, and you sure don't have enough space to compost all your food waste indoors in your kitchen.
Well, ideally our cities all start instituting curbside composting programs. It'd be great if we could all simply walk out back and dump all our food waste into a green cart (as they do in San Francisco). And while I do believe that curbside composting is going to take off over the next decade (the same way curbside recycling took off in the 80s), that still leaves quite a few years where city dwellers and businesses are out of luck.
So that's why I've become a big fan of a new tool for finding local composting facilities, called (quite appropriately) - Find a Composter. It's incredibly easy to use and we've been recommending it to many of our Viv businesses who are looking to compost all their food waste and packaging, but don't know where to start.
Well, you might say it sounds pretty simple - you, um, find composters :-)... but really it's much more robust than that:
First, you can search for composting facilities by geography, including: zip code and by state. If you search by zipcode, you can narrow in your search by miles from your location.
Second, you can narrow your search in by types of material (e.g., dairy, bones, compostable bags, leaves). This is a very important feature as unfortunately only 8% of the ~3,400 commercial composting facilities in the country accept food waste (the vast majority only accept yard trimmings).
Third, there's a wealth of information provided on each facility, including: phone number, website, acreage, availability of compost for purchase, certifications, etc.
Fourth, if you know of a facility but it isn't listed, you can just "Register A Composting Facility".
Overall, it's an incredibly valuable tool both for consumers and businesses who are looking to act more sustainabily and find composting facilities in their area.
Do you drop off your composting at a local facility? Share your tips & tricks for finding facilities and diverting your waste.