Don’t waste your household scraps!

Curbside Compost Cooperative started collecting compost in the summer of 2017. This Northfield based group of passionate people is dedicated to reducing the waste filling up the Rice County landfill, lowering greenhouse gas emission and finding local solutions to environmental and social challenges. Check out what can be given to them to compost, the list might surprise you!

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Interview with Curbside Compost

Diane spoke with Curbside Composts this week to get the inside scoop on the Northfield Compost company.

Diane: What is Curbside Compost?  Where do you provide your services? How many subscribers do you have? 

Curbside Compost: We are a weekly compost collection service for organic waste serving Northfield, Dundas, and we are now signing up subscribers in Faribault! We have about 800 household subscribers and about 15 commercial subscribers including bakeries, coffee shops, churches, condo buildings, etc. We provide our subscribers with a receptacle (typically either a 5 gallon bucket or a 32 gallon rolling bin) and collect weekly 

Diane: What is your business structure/how is it operated/managed? 

Curbside Compost: We are a worker owned cooperative, which means the 6 of us who work in the business are also the owners and we work together to make decisions and run the operation. 

Diane: How does compost intersect with regenerative agriculture?  

Curbside Compost: Compost intersects with regenerative agriculture by creating an important soil amendment that can help with erosion, water retention, nutrient density, and so many other things. Compost is such an asset to any farm, garden, building project, etc. because of the way it stabilizes and enriches the soil. Compost is also key to mitigating climate change, because when organic waste breaks down in the landfill without oxygen, it releases the potent greenhouse gas methane. eliminating organic waste from our landfills is one intervention point among many for curbing climate change, which intersects with every aspect of our lives. 

Diane: What is the vision for the business?

Curbside Compost: Our vision for this business is to run an operation that is sustainable for workers and the planet.   

Diane: What inspired you to do this? 

Curbside Compost: We were inspired to do this as we came to understand the need in our community and our county for more waste to be diverted from the landfill. We were a part of conversations at the local level about our county landfill filling up and needing to undertake the significant process of landfill expansion, and were inspired to create a business to meet this local need.

Diane: What has been the biggest challenge?

Curbside Compost: The biggest challenge has been figuring out how to handle all the many details that come along with running and managing this service. Additionally, we have been working for years to start our own compost processing site, and have struggled to find land to host the site on. That has also been a big and long lasting challenge. 

Diane: Who are some of your allies in this work? 

Curbside Compost: We have many allies in this work! To name a few,  there is the US Composting Council, the Institute for Local Self Reliance, and the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives. The first two organizations have a lot of resources and direct support for compost collectors from best practices for compost collection to scientific reports on the benefits of composting, etc. The third organization is a support org for worker cooperatives that offers resources on all things necessary for running a healthy worker cooperative. 

Diane: How can the community support you and/or get connected?

Curbside Compost: We are looking for land to host a processing site! There are a lot of details as to what we are looking for, but if you have access to 2 to 5 acres and  you’d be interested in chatting about the potential of compost processing, we’d love to talk with you! We also always encourage people to talk to their friends and neighbors and encourage them to start composting, whether through our collection service or building a backyard site or visiting one of the drop sites hosted by the city of Northfield. 

Diane: This is a stinky business, can you share something that brings you laughter or joy in this work? 

Curbside Compost: Yes! Many things, one is how much people appreciate our service and show us gratitude when they see us out and about collecting compost. Another is the great joy of collecting people’s jack o’lanterns after Halloween 🙂

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