Food waste is this country’s #1 waste issue. Can you believe it? According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 40% of all food grown ends up in the trash. Local company, Atlas Organics, has decided to take this issue head on with its food waste collection and composting services. Atlas Organics is an industrial sized composting company servicing customers ranging from schools, grocery stores, restaurants to industrial clients and most recently individual homes with its residential program, Compost House. Compost House was created to bring about the next shift in recycling to the foundation of our communities, our homes. The Compost House program offers two membership options – weekly doorstep service or a drop-off location membership. Weekly doorstep service is available in 8 zip codes around Greenville for $24 a month. This option includes two 5-gallon buckets to collect food waste. Dirty buckets are picked up from your doorstep once a week and clean buckets are left in return.
Drop-off membership includes a bucket to collect food waste and access to drop-off bins 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for $14 a month. The drop-off location in Greenville is located at Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery at 205 Cedar Lane Rd, Greenville, SC 29611. This membership was designed for customers that wanted to participate but lived outside the doorstep service area or for households that frequent the Swamp Rabbit Cafe location and don’t mind bringing their bucket along with them. There are cleaning materials for your bucket on site if needed.
What wows compost enthusiasts and newcomers alike is everything that can be put in Compost House buckets. Atlas Organics accepts ALL food waste including cooked meat, spoiled left overs, bones, even paper products like napkins, paper towels or paper dishware in addition to the traditional compostable materials like produce cuttings, egg shells and coffee grounds. There is even a cheat sheet on the buckets themselves just in case you are second guessing what to put in. Once food waste has been collected through either program option, the Atlas Organics operations team transports the waste to their composting facility located at Twinn Chimneys Landfill where the waste undergoes the natural decomposition process optimized by their experienced composting team.
The Compost House program would not be complete or true to the Table to Farm movement unless members got finished compost back. Compost House members receive 10 gallons of finished compost each month upon request. Finished compost is known for its nutrient rich properties as well as its ability to retain water and help rebuild soil structure. Getting high-quality compost back into our community’s soil is crucial for our plant life and for the health of our food system.
The last but definitely not least perk to being a Compost House member is making a positive impact. We frequently talk about change, positive change for our communities, healthier foods, healthier environments for our children and families, better use of resources, less drain on the system. The list could go on and on. The solutions to these problems are not up to one person yet each person is one piece of the puzzle. It is the same with waste and what each person decides to do with their own waste.
Collectively 50+ Compost House members recycled 7,553lbs of compostable waste since last November’s launch. Not one of those households recycled more than 20lbs a week, but it did not take long for the 12-15lbs per household to add up to over 3,000lbs. The impact that we make together is astounding. Thanks to the beauty of composting that same waste that didn’t end up going to the landfill will be used to feed our earth and sustain continual growth.
For more info you can meet Education Director & Compost House Coordinator Leslie Rodgers this Saturday, August 12 from 9am-12pm at Swamp Rabbit Cafe and from 1-4pm at Lowes Foods in Simpsonville. If you can’t make it you can find out more info here. You can also follow the progress via Facebook and Instagram. Stay tuned for more coverage on 360 very soon. As we experience Compost House firsthand!