Ask Eartha: Frisco’s new composting program
Ryan Summerlin November 7, 2012
I want to know more about the compost drop-off program at the Frisco Recycling Center. Can you tell me how it works?
We want your food waste! Not just the raw vegetables, fruit peels and coffee grounds that typical backyard composters pine for, we want it all. We even want the stinky stuff – leftover meat, cheese, broccoli and even bones. What do we want to do with it? We want to make less waste and more soil!
Back by popular demand, there’s a new compost drop-off program in town. Starting Dec. 1, you can join the program and compost all of your food waste (up to 10 gallons a week) for as little as $10 a month.
Why does it cost money to donate your food waste? Well, we wish the service could be free (wouldn’t it be great if everyone was composting? One of these days), but someone has to manage the program, collect the compost, transport the compost to the compost facility, process the compost and make the soil. Gas, man power and machines aren’t free, so we need to cover our costs. But, we’ve made it affordable!
Composting is a natural process of transforming food waste, paper products, and organics (things that were once alive) into a dark, rich healthy soil that can be applied to community gardens, trees and landscaping and reclamation projects.
Contrary to popular belief, the landfill is not a gigantic composting system. In fact, all of your leftovers, yard clippings and organic waste that go into the garbage produce a hazardous gas called methane in a landfill environment. Methane is a greenhouse gas 72 times more potent than carbon dioxide. By keeping organics out of our landfill, you help combat climate change!
Similar to recycling, composting also diverts resources from our landfill. Organics (including yard waste, food waste, paper, and wood waste) make up over 65 percent of the waste stream. When you compost and recycle, you can keep up to 90 percent (or all of it if you’re a die-hard diverter) of your garbage out of the landfill, extending our landfill’s life for future generations.
By participating in the Summit Compost Drop-Off program, you’re taking would-be-trash and putting it to good use through compost production. Composting improves soil health and structure, prevents erosion, increases drought resistance, and conserves water. Compost also reduces the need for petroleum-based fertilizers. It’s that good!
Summit County is very fortunate to have a large scale composting facility (High Country Compost) located at our landfill near Keystone. Compostable materials or “organics” will be collected from the Frisco Recycling Center by county trucks to travel a short distance to the Summit County Resource Allocation Park. Organics are mixed with wood chips and microbes, turning into compost in a matter of weeks. This unique, closed-loop system includes compost collection from zero waste events, school lunch waste, restaurants, and YOU (if you participate in the program) into a nutrient-rich soil that is contributed back to the community through local community garden projects.
Summit County compost (completely processed in our community) can be purchased at the Summit County Resource Allocation Park. Again, just like recycling, the compost program is only successful when we invest in the finished product. It’s not too late to apply compost to your garden beds and lawns. Believe me; your plants will thank you for it! Remember to close the loop and sustain the compost program by buying locally made compost. Call 468-9263 x 0 for pricing.
Now that I have your attention, I’m sure you’re dying to find out how you can get started composting. It’s easy! Simply visit www.highcountryconservation.org to find out the details.
Starting Dec. 1, all participants (you’ve paid and you’re ready to go) of the Summit Compost Drop-Off Program will be able to take their organics (food waste, soiled paper like napkins and paper towels, and yard trimmings – restrictions do apply) to the Frisco Recycling Center. Breckenridge residents, stay tuned. We hope to expand the compost drop-off program to your neck of the woods in 2013. Let us know if you’re interested in participating!
Ask Eartha Steward is written by the staff at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation. Submit questions to Eartha at firstname.lastname@example.org.