Industrial composting is the method of collecting your organic waste but letting your city, your town, or a private company do the composting for you, which turns the waste into a number of materials, including compost available for purchase. This method is relevant for people who want to contribute to sustainability, maintain zero-waste practices, or wish to buy compost for use, but are not interested in composting themselves. If this sounds like you, read on to learn how you can get involved in industrial composting. If you’re not sure, consult this article to determine which method of composting is the best fit for you.

Why industrial?

Industrial composting as a market has been growing in the last couple of years as people are starting to become aware of our food waste. As UrthPact describes, industrial composting is a popular method because it’s conducted professionally, done on a massive scale with a great impact, and is rather easy for consumers. Taking part in this new green business will contribute to a growing market that focuses on sustainability and fights climate change.

While I will not give in-depth explanations for how industrial composting is done, if you are interested, you can click here to read the science behind it. Or, click here to watch a video about the process. 

(Picture of composting at McEnroe Farms, NY. Picture accredited to Diane Greer and her article on BioCycle)

Choosing a provider

To start, you must choose a composting service that will collect your organic waste, either curbside or on location.

Research your local government’s services

Generally, city and town programs are the best way to compost because a large majority of them offer curbside services and use the compost products for your community. In addition, government or state-sponsored providers may offer free services if you meet their requirements. Seattle locals can visit this site for details on Seattle-sponsored compost collection service.

Research a local company’s services

However, if your town/city does not offer such service, private companies also provide services for compost to businesses and also consumers. So, choose a service that is nearby for drop off, or has a frequent pickup option. Many of these companies will use your food scraps to sell composted materials, which you can buy to use as well. If you’re having trouble, utilize FindAComposter to research composting programs near you in both the United States and Canada. These searches will include not only private companies, but also small businesses and local farmers that accept organic waste for compost.

Choose a provider

After your research, choose a composting program that works for you. Contact the provider for more details on how you can use their services.

Compost!

Now, since you have your service and program in place, you can collect your food and lawn scraps in their special bins or bags, so you can do your part in limiting climate change and food waste.

Photo by CJ Kelly, Emeraldology

Knowing what to compost

Not everything can be composted, so it’s important to know how to sort your waste properly. The following lists from the University of Georgia provide information on what industrial compost facilities typically do and don’t accept.

*Note: you should always check with your chosen facility for specifics on what they do and don’t accept.

Here’s what you generally can put in your compost bin

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Dairy products
  • Grains
  • Unbleached paper napkins
  • Coffee filters
  • Eggshells
  • Meats
  • Red meat*
  • Bones *
  • Newspaper

Here’s what you generally cannot put in your compost bin 

  • Plastics
  • Grease
  • Glass
  • Metals
  • Plastic utensils
  • Condiment packages
  • Non-biodegradable plastics
  • Foil
  • Silverware
  • Drinking straws

Photo by CJ Kelly, Emeraldology

Buying compost

You can also buy industrially-made compost, rather than buying fertilizers. Among other things, the excessive use of fertilizers can contribute to air pollution, so it’s best to limit fertilizers as much as possible. In addition, according to a study conducted by Workneh Bedada and his team, compost alone serves as better soils for plant harvests than fertilizer alone, so there’s no need to purchase fertilizer. Raquel Barrena’s study also reported that industrial compost has great stability, a highly valued characteristic of soil, so all the more reason to buy industrially-produced compost.

I hope this information will help you find a service to compost your food scraps so you can do your part in building an environment-friendly market.

Featured photo by Summer Hanson, Emeraldology

© Emeraldology 2018