A Washington DC company has created a new way to help urban residents and businesses compost organic waste. For a small fee, the Compost Cab truck collects organic waste from urban clients each week and brings it to local, not-for-profit farms outside the city. By composting donated waste, farms are able to produce a large supply of low-cost, high-quality fertilizer. In this way, Compost Cab offers a sustainable model of organic waste disposal that benefits everyone involved. As Compost Cab earns a profit, local farms receive a large supply of organic waste they can compost. Area business save money in waste removal while demonstrating their commitment to environmental sustainability and local food production.
Over the past two years, Compost Cab has built up a client list of local businesses, residents, and non-profit organizations. One of Compost Cab’s most visible clients is the Dupont Circle Farmers’ Market. Like many of Compost Cab’s other clients, the vendors at the farmers’ market lack the means to compost their own organic waste, yet remain interested in reducing their environmental footprint and supporting local agriculture. Each week the Compost Cab collects and hauls all the organic waste from the farmers’ market to a farm just outside of the city.
After nine months, Compost Cab also offers residents the option to receive five pounds of ready-to-plant compost for every fifty pounds of organic waste they produce. According to Compost Cab, the average family produces around 500 pounds of organic waste each year, meaning each family could receive up to 50 pounds of high-quality organic fertilizer. Also, by composting all that waste, businesses and families keep a significant amount of trash out of landfills.
If left to decay in landfills, trash produces and releases methane, a greenhouse gas implicated in global climate change. However, if composted properly, organic waste does not produce methane. Also, as an organic fertilizer, compost reduces the need for synthetic fertilizers, which can degrade soil health. The production of synthetic fertilizer requires a great deal of energy, much of which is produced through the unsustainable and polluting use of fossil fuels. While it is somewhat difficult to calculate how much money businesses and residents save by using the service each week, by facilitating composting, Compost Cab allows clients to support local agriculture while helping protect the environment.
While Compost Cab plans on expanding to other cities in the future, businesses across the country are already seeking out individual agreements with local farms to remove and turn organic waste into high quality compost. These agreements offer easy, affordable, and profitable ways for businesses to support local agriculture, while reducing their environmental footprint.