a proposal by chasten & jaye toler
Grassroots Organic Composting (GOC) is a commercial composting system that provides pickup service from organizations with food waste. Grassroots Organic Composting provides an economically and environmentally sustainable business model for the Tri-State region. GOC diverts organic food waste away from landfills; instead, boosting local food security by transforming food waste into superior topsoil for local agriculture and landscaping vendors. In addition, Grassroots Organic Composting includes an educational component, by providing public education on food waste, composting, and their relationship to food security and environmental concerns.
Composting Goals: job creation, environmental education, improve soil health, watershed preservation, climate protection, waste reduction and local economic development.
The business, operating under the name Grassroots Organic Composting, secures food waste from local restaurants and other commercial sites such as hospitals, hotels, grocery stores, senior living facilities, school systems, etc. We will provide participating locations with 64-gallon toters and compostable bags, and pick-up as agreed upon in contract. Food waste will be transported to our commercial composting facility, and turned into rich topsoil to be sold to farmers, landscapers and gardeners. Cost of service will be scaled based on weight/frequency of pick-ups.
Services will initially be offered to Huntington-area organizations, with plans to expand to the greater Tri-State region. With growth, we may also consider residential pick-up/drop-off. Two local businesses have already expressed desire to participate.
In the United States, food waste is the second largest category of municipal solid waste (MSW) sent to landfills, accounting for approximately 18% of the waste stream (EPA). In 2010 alone,that 18% equated more than 34 million tons of wasted food generated, with only 3% of this diverted from landfills and incinerators to composting.
Our role is to reduce waste by diverting food scraps, landscape trim, and paper and other organics, from landfills. We then turn it into high-quality topsoil for local agriculture and landscaping. We will partner with local governments, businesses, non-profits, and school systems to create hands-on training for students of all ages, and a green business model for a sustainable Tri-State area.
Potential customers include local restaurants, hotels, hospitals, schools, and festivals and events.
There is no known competition in this market. We would be the first providing this service and promoting commercial composting in the Tri-State area.
Husband and wife team, Chasten & Jaye Toler. As local gardeners and recyclers, we strive for a greener, more sustainable Huntington. Chasten and Jaye were born in Huntington, WV but each lived a large portion of their lives in Richmond, VA and Philadelphia, PA. Eventually, the pair realized their desire to move home to West Virginia and become a part of the economic and social resurgence.
After some research, we visited Danny’s Dumpsters, a similar initiative in Asheville, NC. We were impressed with the impact Danny was able to achieve, with a fairly simple process and also employing 12 people. The community buy-in has grown to the point that people request his composting bins at their festivals and weddings. Huntington recognizes a need for recycling, and we want to be part of that solution. Grassroots Organic Composting provides a streamlined outlet for waste reduction and organic recycling.
Chasten is the Director of The Wild Ramp, a year-round indoor farmers market. Jaye is the Development Director of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Tri-State.
With Huntington’s many restaurants, hotels, hospitals and other organizations with food waste, the need for diverting organic waste is important. Grassroots Organic Composting will provide participating businesses with 64-gallon toters (large trashcan with wheels) and compostable bags, based on volume. Similar to garbage pick-up, GOC will arrive on scheduled days, empty toters into our vehicle, replace bag and transport organic waste to composting facility. While some organizations may only separate waste in “back of house” operations, others may include receptacles for consumers to self-sort their waste into the appropriate bins.
At the composting site, food waste will be transformed into rich, nutrient-filled topsoil. The foodwaste will be mixed with carbon sources and placed in a covered confinement for up to three weeks before being placed in wind rows for the composting process to finalize. The remains will
then been sorted through a screener to removing any non-organic materials. The finished topsoil will be available for purchase ranging from hobby gardeners to professional large-scale farms. Finished compost will be available by second year of operation. Purchase of topsoil will be both retail and wholesale and available in bags or by the yard.
In addition to the hauling of organic waste, Grassroots Organic Composting will incorporate an educational component, by inviting partnership with area school districts. It is our hope to partner with area school districts, and allow students to become part of this movement. Ideally, schools will divert their food waste to GOC, and by the end of the school year, students will visit
the compost facility and be able to run their hands through the beautiful topsoil created by them.
- Utility trailer - $1,500
- 24 64-gallon toters - $1,800
- 11 compostable bag rolls - $880
- Marketing/Advertising - $2,000
- Total: $6,180 plus land/storefront(later investement)
- Until land is secured, organic waste will be delivered directly to First Generation Farms in KY.
- Adds needed organic matter to soil
- Sequesters carbon
- Improves plant growth
- Conserves water
- Reduces reliance on chemical pesticides/fertilizer
- Prevents nutrient run-off and erosion
- Protects watershed
- Reduce climate impacts
- Improves soil vitality
- Boosts quality and quantity of local agriculture
- 72% of waste going to landfills could be composted into new soil