A growing group of “community composters” help individuals, organizations and food service providers divert compostable waste like food scraps, paper products and coffee grounds from the landfill. The environmentally-friendly startups stay true to the “community” in their classification by operating closed-loop systems that value waste as an asset. They provide the nutrient-rich end-product created through their business model to clients, local farms or gardens in the communities where they operate.
“Yes, we want to reduce food waste,” says Kat Nigro, CompostNow’s head of marketing and engagement, “but at the same time we want to build a stronger, more vibrant local food system with improved soil health.”
Citing the hundreds of community composting organizations that have sprung up across the country in the last decade, Nigro says that composting is having its moment. “I think in the U.S. we’re ready for composting on a larger scale,” she explains.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s most recent data, the rate of recycling and composting in the U.S. hovered around 34% from 2010 to 2015 (the last year data was available). According to Frank Franciosi, executive director of the U.S. Composting Council, for the composting sector to scale in the U.S., infrastructure issues like inefficient permitting and zoning must be addressed.