Companies join forces to increase composting throughout Triangle

Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Companies join forces to increase composting throughout Triangle
How much food do you throw away a week? You could turn that waste into nutrient rich dirt if you compost it.

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- How much food do you throw away a week? You could turn that waste into nutrient rich dirt if you compost it.

But most people don't have time or space. So, two composting services in the Triangle just joined forces to offer a $25 per month pickup service to help you.

Justin Senkbeil started CompostNow several years ago because he lived in downtown Raleigh and wanted to compost but didn't have the time or space.

He said there's a soil crisis.

"We are pulling so much good stuff out of the soil as things grow, and it's affecting the food we're now getting from it."

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So, he created a link to create a full circle, from something created that you use and turning it into something that can go back to the earth when you are done.

"A lot of the top restaurants love to do it because they connect health of the soil with the health of the food they're creating," Senkbeil said. "And local farmers, they need healthy soil. That natural relationship of a chef supporting a farmer by buying their food, they can also make sure their food scraps are composted and go back to complete that circle."

Kat Nigro used to be with Tilthy Rich out of Durham.

Her company used bikes to come by and pick up compost buckets from about 300 homes and businesses around the Bull City.

But this movement is exploding.

So, Nigro and Tilthy Rich just joined CompostNow in Raleigh.

Together they do weekly pickups to 1,500 homes, businesses, and restaurants all over the Triangle.

She gave ABC11 a crash course in why composting is so good.

It prevents things from rotting in a landfill and giving off Methane gas which is more dangerous that Carbon Monoxide.

And once you put the compost in a garden, it helps the ground retain water and nutrients.

Nigro said crops and plants grow better in compost.

"It kind of replaces fertilizer," she said. "What fertilizer does is it gives a jolt of nutrients right away and then it's done. What this does is it allows nutrients to be leached out when the plant needs it over longer periods of time."

With CompostNow you can compost more than fruits and vegetables. You can compost meat bones, dairy, coffee grounds and filters, tea bags, pizza boxes, and the inside of the toilet paper roll and paper towels.

Once a week, drivers come pick up your CompostNow bin and take it to the compost facility.

In 2016, CompostNow diverted 725,000 pounds from local landfills, and they expect to do so much more this year.

You earn compost for every bin you fill. You can use the compost yourself, or you can donate it to one of nearly two dozen community gardens around the Triangle. Gardens that are teaching and helping people how to grow their own food or selling it back to local restaurants.

Senkbeil said every CompostNow member diverts about 500 pounds of waste a year from a landfill.

"People want to make a difference," he said. "They want to find simple ways in their life that they can change a small habit and have a big difference."