2023: What the heck is going on with composting?
Well folks, we made it! The region is finally stepping up composting in a big way – in particular, through the new “pay-as-you-throw” program in the City and County of Denver which makes composting & recycling free for all single-family homes and makes trash what folks pay for, as well as the Waste No More ballot initiative which will require all businesses in Denver to compost and recycle. However, our entire region still relies on only one large commercial-scale compost processing site (and a smattering of much smaller sites), and its capacity to handle all of this new incoming material (and the contamination it will surely contain) is limited. The recently announced (4/1/23) sweeping changes to what is acceptable in the compost stream is a direct result of this bottleneck.
Fortunately for Scraps members, you can continue to compost as normal, with very minimal changes. Those changes: a) We can only accept compostable bags made by BioBag, EcoSafe, Natur-Bag, BioSak, World Centric, UNNI, and Open Nature with other brands slowly being added to the acceptable bags list; b) We are supporting our membership – especially our commercial members – in gradually transitioning from BPI certified compostable packaging/items, to CMA approved packaging/items. CMA (Compost Manufacturing Alliance) approval is an additional layer of testing that guarantees that materials will actually break down (decompose) in actual field conditions, whereas BPI certification is based on laboratory testing.For the time being, we are hauling our material to a different, smaller processor.
Other changes may arise as our regional composting infrastructure develops and changes, and we will continue to keep our membership informed, educated & empowered to keep on composting!
Can you share more details on how you work with multifamily buildings?
We provide kitchen compost bins for our members, as well as a supply of compostable bags to get them started, as part of their startup fee. These bins are meant for a countertop or under-the-sink space. The bins live in each member’s home. (We call our customers “members.”)
Our members leave their kitchen/countertop bins in a designated pickup spot on pickup day. That “pickup spot” depends on what each building’s property management and/or HOA are comfortable with. It could be in a trash room, or an unused corner of a “trash chute room,” or inside an outdoor trash enclosure, or in a garage, or the front foyer, or the back or front porch, or a spot beside a door, or a spot between the bike racks and the alley – whatever works, we’re flexible! We’re happy to meet with managers and/or HOAs of each property in our membership to find a space that works with their building.
We can also provide what we refer to as full-building service. In this case, we contract directly with the HOA or property management company, to provide a compost pickup service package that works for the entire community (at a discounted per-unit rate, versus individual monthly memberships). We provide household bins for all residents, plus “collection bins” for folks to empty their individual household bins into, and regular pickups of these collection bins (2x weekly or more). As Denver’s new Waste No More initiative comes into effect starting in 2024, Scraps will be working to convert all individual subscribers in MFUs into full-building subscribers, as will be required by the new rules.
How do I know if you service my neighborhood / building?
Check out our signup page and service area map to see! You’ll find everything you need to know to get started with us, including options for drop-off programs if you don’t live in our pickup service area.
Where do the food scraps / compostables go?
We transport your food scraps out to our local processing partners – either A1 Organics, or Republic in Bennett, CO. Our compost partners are subject to change based on evolving regulations and other factors.
How do I prevent my compost bin from getting smelly?
Here are a few general tips to help keep odors away:
If you have lots of wet/juicy stuff in your compost bin, remember you can also compost absorbent things like paper towels, napkins, paper scraps, small pieces of cardboard, shredded newspaper, shredded toilet paper rolls / paper towel rolls, etc. Try to mix those in there! Even spent coffee grounds can help.
MINIMIZE EXPOSURE TO HEAT.
Try to store your scraps in a cool, dry place during the week; try to keep your bin out of direct sunlight, and not directly beside your oven. If you have room, you can even keep your bag in the fridge or freezer as it fills up. Cool temps = less decomposition activity in your bin.
WAIT AS LONG AS POSSIBLE TO ADD ROTTING/SMELLY FOOD FROM YOUR FRIDGE TO YOUR COMPOST BIN.
Depending on the situation, this might not be an option! But foods that have already turned smelly will smell more when they aren’t being cooled by your refrigerator.
This can sound counterintuitive, but LEAVE YOUR BIN OPEN AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. If it doesn’t smell, then keeping the lid open helps maximize airflow and evaporate moisture, both of which can help prevent the contents of your bin from becoming anaerobic – when things are compacted and wet and not getting oxygen, and those smelly anaerobic bacteria take root.
WASH YOUR BIN BETWEEN PICKUPS.
Even a little bit of moisture, or leaked liquid, or other buildup, can quickly lead to a smelly situation if not cleaned.
In our experience, some compost bins never smell, some always do, some do some of the time – it all just depends! But following these tips will definitely reduce your chance of ending up with a smelly compost bin.
Do you service restaurants?
Yes! We offer services to restaurants, cafes, food halls, and food producers/processors of all sizes and types, and just about any other business that wants to compost.
Do you do events?
Yes! We compost (and provide full-scale zero-waste services) at all sorts of events, large and small. If you’d like Scraps to service your event, check out our events page and let us know how we can help.