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March 6, 2014

Crowdfunding a Community Compost Center

What Good a Compost Bin Could do

Composite sites are an easy way to bring the community together and strengthen the local neighborhood. In this article, we’ll give you examples and links to composite centers around the country.

Too often, human activity harms the environment in multiple ways at once. Litter and pollution create hazards for plants, wildlife, and people, while at the same time development and traffic take away topsoil, plant life, and other elements that an ecosystem must have in order to stay healthy.

Progress photo from “How To Build The Ultimate Compost Bin”.

In recent years, composting has increased in popularity as a way to reduce waste and produce natural fertilizer that can be sold, given away, or used to restore natural areas. Many of us are familiar with the practice of composting food scraps and yard waste at home as a way of saving some money on the garden as well as saving some work for the trash collector. With the help of crowdfunding efforts, you can encourage this habit in your community and expand it to include not only food scraps, but also a variety of paper and cardboard waste that might otherwise end up in the landfill.

Yellowstone Sunset

West Yellowstone Compost Facility & stevetulk (Flickr).

At the moment, it is impractical for most communities to develop the kind of advanced composting system that we see in places like Yellowstone National Park. However, crowdfunding can help you get the resources you need to set up a community composting program that puts a large amount of your neighborhood’s waste to good use (and keeps it out of your neighborhood’s waterways). A basic community composting program has a few elements that can be easily and frugally obtained: a site for compost piles, the structures that contain the piles, a means of collecting compostable material, and a plan for keeping non-compostable material out of the pile.

Compost

Photo by Ron Mader.

The EPA recommends that you begin planning your community’s composting program by assessing your community’s waste disposal needs. Usually, your local watershed coordinator or county extension will have a lot of useful information on this topic, as well as information about your community’s legal requirements for establishing a community composting program. They can also help spread the word about your efforts to crowdfund the composting program, and they may even be able to help you acquire a grant to set up your composting site!

Composting is a pleasant instance of human activity helping the environment in two ways at once. Composting programs keep a large quantity of organic waste out of our watersheds’ sensitive areas while at the same time providing us with nutrient-rich, organic fertilizer that we can use to restore habitat, raise funds for our composting centers, and develop a more sustainable food economy. Crowdfunding a community composting center is a great way to truly get your community involved in environmental protection from the ground up.

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