|Posted on August 25, 2016 at 10:20 PM|
Community-based composting has become a nationwide initiative that has taken storm in so many communities across the United States. Some cities and states are so far ahead in their levels of consciousness regarding composting that they make other cities and states look like there’s hardly any composting going on. From cities like Seattle and Washington D.C., composting is as normal as breathing air. Not true in other cities but the movement is on the rise nonetheless. Cities like Tallahassee have been promoting back yard composting for many years but composting as a small business and getting restaurants and other businesses involved has been another issue. Promoting backyard composting is easy to do because it places the responsibility on the residents without cities or counties having to intervene. Although backyard composting is a most wonderful idea, the amount of food waste diverted from the landfill is very minimal unless there are thousands of residents composting within a municipality. The idea of commercial composting is discussed among government administrations but not too much action is taken in regards to this level of composting. Compost Community assists in filling that void. Local business owners of the restaurants Cypress and Vertigo have joined in as crusaders against waste and have adopted the vision to do the right thing regarding its kitchen waste. David and Elizabeth Gwynn have become awesome partners in the campaign against unnecessary waste generation when it can be recycled with a small business where the finished product can be used to grow more local food that restaurants purchase. This creates a closed loop cycle.
David was skeptical in the beginning because restaurant owners in Tallahassee haven’t really been introduced to composting as a major part of their business model. Traditional recycling of cardboard and bottles is a behavior that is second nature to most people so adding fresh fruit and veggie scraps to the list of things to separate and save for pick-up is brand new for most restaurant owners. Some owners have composted in the past but when you have someone picking up for their farm animals or home gardens, it can become a burden on the restaurant when the pick-ups aren’t consistent or when the pick-ups suddenly stop. This we want to definitely avoid if we’re going to convince business owners that composting is a good thing for their restaurant. Waste Management doesn’t miss a day of pick-up unless there’s some natural phenomenon to halt the pick-up. The same attitude and work ethic must be present for compost pick up, especially for compost pick up because of the rotting factor. Bottles and cardboard don’t rot and smell. Reliability is crucial if businesses are to get on board and to remain consistent in their composting efforts. Knowing that composting is the right thing to do helps but only if it makes sense for them.
We praise David and Elizabeth for having the vision and commitment to compost and for seeing the value in such a necessary component to the sustainability of our society and world. We encourage more restaurants to seek how to make composting an essential part of their business model. We also encourage customers to seek out restaurants that compost and practice sustainable methods and to support them. At times, costs can increase when adopting sustainable methods; therefore patrons should seek these businesses out and ensure that extra support to keep them relevant. It doesn’t hurt for patrons to apply a little pressure to other businesses that aren’t composting to at least plant that seed and to inform them that composting is on the minds of the people.
We still have a long way to go to get the majority of residents and business owners to begin composting but strides are being made and the people of Tallahassee are becoming more and more conscious of the essentiality of sustainable practices and holding businesses accountable is a part of that. Compost is essential to our very nature as human beings. Nature creates it for us in the natural order of leaf decomposition over a number of years but we have learned through our ancestors that we can create and speed the process up in order to restore our damaged soils. Composting is the ONLY way that we’re going to be able to heal our impaired soils and continue to feed the people good nutrient dense food.
Honors to those who play a part in the composting process. Ase'
Sundiata is owner of Compost Community and works with restaurant owners and residents to curb their food waste and direct it to local community gardens for the growing of good local food.