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Tuesday, September 8, 2020

In Other Words: There’s Garden Gold in Those Food Scraps

Ben Bessler and a shredder used to compost.


By Chuck Keller


Here’s a thought. “There is no such thing as ‘away’. When we throw anything away it must go somewhere,” observed Annie Leonard, the international proponent of sustainability. So if you plan to throw something away then why not let it work to your benefit.


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 I recently met Ben Bessler and he has a vision. He and his brothers own Local Compost, a new start up that will take your kitchen scraps and turn it into rich compost for your garden. You give them food scraps and they give you food for your garden. That’s a pretty good deal. And they are expanding their range into Fort Thomas.

Local Compost is a small operation. Their website claims that “Our mission at Local Compost is to prevent food waste from reaching the landfill. Each year 30% - 40% of food in the United States is wasted and ends up in landfills. Landfills accounted for approximately 14% of U.S. methane emissions in 2017, with 22% of landfills being made up of food waste. Approximately 31% of food waste happens at the retail and consumer levels.”  
Compostable bags break down easily. 

It’s a simple transaction. You can provide your own five-gallon bucket or you can get one from them. It is lined with a biodegradable liner. For about $22 per month an employee will collect your scraps and, if you wish, leave you with a half-bucket of rich compost.

 Bessler tells a story that, “My neighbor has his doctorate in horticulture. So every batch of compost that we produce, half of it goes back to the customer for free and the other half we sell. He bought the last batch. So he has a huge garden in his yard and this year he just used the Local Compost and he says it’s the best it’s ever looked.”

Bessler's neighbor and his garden.

He went on to say that, “We got it tested at the Boone County Extension Office to make sure it was good quality.” 

Finished compost.

This is a program that will appeal to someone interested in sustainability.  If you live in an urban area it can be difficult to dedicate a compost section in the yard. Their customers are “green minded but they don’t have the space to do this on their own. They might have a little garden. It’s a convenience thing. You’re diverting your food waste away from the landfill. You’re getting something in return,” Bessler explains. And you feel good about what you’ve done. And whatever you can keep out of the landfill is a good thing.

Flower grown in Local Compost product.
Bessler says that “It can take as little as 1-2 months or as long as 6 months depending on the time of year.” And there are bigger benefits than just enriching your soil. He explains, “The benefits for the environment are a reduction of greenhouse gases. Food that usually goes to the landfill can now go through anaerobic decomposition which produces methane, while composting allows the waste to decompose aerobically, which produces carbon dioxide, a much less harmful gas for the environment.” 

And that sounds like a win-win situation to me.

Visit their website at  https://www.local-compost.com  for more information.

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