Startup turns urban food waste into compost for local farms

Compost Cab
[image credit: Washington Post]

Urban farms don’t have enough compost

Americans generate 250 million tons of garbage every year, and roughly one third of that could be converted into compost. Instead, they go to the landfill, where they generate harmful methane gas. In addition, as urban farms increase in popularity, the demand for compost and expensive soil amendments has likewise increased. Many urban residents would prefer composting their food waste instead of throwing it in the garbage, but scraps must be driven to a drop-off location, and the refuse can attract rodents.

Solution: Collect food waste from local residents

For $32 per month, residents of Washington DC receive a rodent-proof container to store their discarded produce, coffee grounds, and grass clippings. “If it grows, it goes” says Matt Browsosky, Compost Cab founder. Once a week, a driver picks up the container and replaces it with a fresh one, where it is turned into compost and sold to nearby farms. “What Washington needed most wasn’t another urban farm. It was compost.” From an initial base of 350 customers, Borowski has now expanded into a handful of neighboring cities.

Limitations: Borowsky acknowledges that this is only a stop-gap measure to raise awareness of the need for a larger, city-run effort to collect food waste. For example, San Francisco collects an estimated 600 tons of compostable material every day.

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Article by: Dave

Dave Cannon is a Seattle-based entrepreneur and consultant to nonprofits and small businesses. He loves Thai food and takes terrible photographs. You can follow him on Linkedin.
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