If you regularly put your recyclable paper, cans, and bottles on the curb every week, do you wish there was a way to also keep food waste out of landfills?
That was something Annandale resident Sarah Stakes, who has embraced the “green” lifestyle, was trying to find. There are businesses that collect and compost food waste from restaurants, but she couldn’t find anyone who does this for homeowners in the Annandale area – so she started a company called Compost Livin.’
Compost Livin’ supplies customers with a five-gallon compost collection bin with a tight lid that can be kept outside, a one-gallon container for the kitchen counter, and a starter kit of compost bin liners.
Homeowners can fill their buckets with things like banana peels, egg shells, melon rinds, shrimp shells, coffee grounds, dairy products, bones, pasta, and dinner table leftovers. Used paper towels, uncoated paper plates, food-soiled newspaper, and even pizza boxes can be included, too. The compost items must Be bagged and placed inside the bin.
Compost Livin’ collects the bags of food waste once a week and drops them off at the Western Branch Composting Facility in Prince George’s County. That facility, operated by Maryland Environmental Services, turns yard waste and food scraps into compost soil. Stakes eventually plans to provide compost soil to her customers on a regular basis.
Compost Livin’ charges $30 a month or $80 a quarter. The first month is $15 for new customers. There is no minimum length of service; customers can drop the program whenever they want. Customers must live in Annandale, Falls Church, or Arlington.
Recyling food waste is important, Stakes says, because food waste is the second largest contributor to landfills, and it’s relatively easy to turn it into a useful product. People can produce their own compost, but that’s a time-consuming process, and compost bins can attract pests.
The Western Branch Composting Facility sells compost to local farmers and gardening companies, leading to a full circle of recycling, reuse, and sustainability. Stakes says recycling food waste through Compost Livin’ is a great way to maintain a green sustainable household without much effort.