By: Thomas Fazio, Organics Solutions Manager
If you’re composting with Compost Crew, you know your food scraps are being collected and transformed into nutrient-rich soil amendment. But where does that process take place? In years past, Compost Crew brought 100% of our residential customers’ food scraps to commercial facilities in the DMV. Many of our routes continue to go to these facilities, including the Prince George’s County Organics Compost Facility and the Balls Ford Road Composting Facility in Manassas, Virginia.
These days, some of our routes have a different final destination. In the summer of 2020, Compost Crew launched the first of what will become many decentralized composting sites at One Acre farm in Dickerson, MD. Affectionately known as Compost Outposts by our crew, these composting sites will primarily be located on farms and will be small in size; less than 5,000 square feet. Due to their size, Compost Outposts® will also be limited to the total amount of feedstocks (i.e. food scraps) that can be accepted each week.
Because of their locations on farms, one primary aim of the Compost Outpost® is to create high quality compost that can be put to use on site by the farm. Herein lies the main difference between an industrial facility and an on-farm compost site: the primary goal of a commercial facility is diversion — to be able to accept large amounts of organic materials that would otherwise be landfilled or incinerated. However, the primary goal of an on-farm site is to create high quality soil amendment to promote sustainable farming practices.
Compared to commercial facilities, on-farm composting sites provide operators with a much more intimate relationship with the entire process from start to finish. Incoming feedstocks are closely monitored for contamination and anything deemed unsuitable for on farm composting is either sent to the landfill or redirected to a commercial facility.
As we build more of these Compost Outposts over time, it will allow us to send more of the food scraps we collect from local homes to these facilities, to create compost that will directly help local food production. If your food scraps are being diverted to a local farm, our team will update you with an email, and a sticker on your bin. Although you should make an effort to keep contamination out of your compost bin regardless of where it’s taken, collecting high quality food scraps is of the utmost importance at our Compost Outposts®. To learn more about how to make sure your food scraps are helping us to make the best quality compost possible, check out some of our best practices at compostcrew.com/tips/.