Curbside Composting – Waste Recycling, Resource Regeneration and Sustainability – Garbage to Garden


I’m Tyler Frank. I’m the founder and president of Garbage to Garden. Garbage to Garden is a curbside composting service. For $14 a month, we provide weekly pickup of compostables A residential participant gets a clean bucket every week, And a bag of finished compost delivered if they request it. They put in anything that’s compostable. On a community scale, We can do meat, dairy, bones, eggshells, citrus, avocado pits, paper towels, paper plates It’s a very long list. Things you wouldn’t think of. People actually have a pretty easy time fililng up that bucket. And then we pick up from restaurants, schools, businesses… Then it all goes to local farms. We’re proud to support local farms. Where it gets made into compost that is certified by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners’ Association for use on organic soil, so when we give it back to them, they’re able to grow food they can consider to be organic. You know, it’s really easy to show people the benefits of composting. They’re cutting down on costs, even though they may think this is an EXTRA cost I’m doing. But what people typically find is that they’re going to divert 90% of what is in their trash. A lot of what restaurants throw away is food waste That they can actually compost through us. And they end up typically finding net savings in that. Because people in Portland are paying for trash bags, They’re already being incentivized to think more about what they’re throwing away. To me, composting is the most important issue of sustainability. 40% of municipal waste is compostable.
Of that 40%, just a tiny fraction is actually recycled. People don’t think of this, but organic material is necessary for life. You can’t grow food without it. And the soil…it’s limited. There’s a finite amount of organic material in the soil. So if we continue to grow food and throw it in landfills, that is breaking the carbon cycle and on a long enough timeline, we won’t be able to feed our species. Compost is the only fertilizer you would ever need. It is recycling nutrients that would otherwise be wasted eliminating the need for synthetic fertilizers. We also provide full event waste management for dozens of events. All of their waste is sorted by Garbage to Garden staff and volunteers. We have an 87% diversion rate at these huge 7,000-person concert venues. It’s also free if they volunteer. They can volunteer with non-profits in the community, that are either cleaning up beaches or feeding the hungry Lots of good things that we support and we will give them free service for that. I think our five field operators picked up 15 tons today. Now we’re headed to the farm to empty all that out. Under this covered area is where the material is dropped off. It takes about 90 days for the material we pick up to look like compost. And then it’s another 90 days after that before it’s really ready to use in a garden. At that point, it smells just like dirt. Totally finished. And the steam you see is water vapor because the piles are 150 degrees. Go over and put your hand in there, if you left it there it’d probably burn you. I started out of my little apartment in the east side of Portland. Now we’ve grown to be a municipal-scale operation. We have almost 20% of Portland households composting. In less than five years, it’s gone really from zero to sixty And nationwide, web searches for curbside composting are up thousands of percents since 2012. It’s exploding.

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