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Naples Compost: Turning Trash into Treasure

Growing Climate Solutions welcomes Naples Compost as a new Leadership Partner.

Offering both commercial composting services as well as backyard compost consultations, Naples Compost provides simple solutions to keep the estimated 20 percent of compostable household waste from winding up in landfills. Composting “recycles” food and yard waste by supporting the biological decomposition of organic materials under aerobic conditions, essentially converting common food scraps, yard waste, paper coffee filters, and some other surprising items into nutrient-rich soil. Naples Compost facilitates this process by collecting approximately 22,150 pounds of waste every month from residential and commercial homes and businesses, weddings, and events and processing these materials at their industrial Naples-based compost facility.

As a commercial compost facility, Naples Compost uses chippers, grinders, and mixers to ensure that all items reach ideal composting conditions.  Commercial facilities monitor and control moisture, airflow, and heat, raising compost temperatures to eliminate dangerous bacteria.  Under these conditions, microbes function at optimum levels, allowing commercial operations to accept items like oil, meat, dairy, and some bioplastics that should not be composted at home.

For Southwest Florida residents seeking to compost in their backyards, selecting from the vast array of compost bins and variety of composting techniques may pose a challenge, so Naples Compost offers consultations to get clients started. Services also educational sessions, and outreach. Naples compost currently serves over 100 residents and commercial clients located throughout Collier, Lee, and Hendry Counties.

When composting at home, consider these general guidelines to keep the process running smoothly.  First, choose a technique.  Composting with an open pile or using a closed bin will get the job done, but closed bins help prevent animals from being drawn to food scraps.  Bins measuring around 1 cubic yard are best for maintaining the optimal temperature for proper decomposition. Keep the bin in a sunny area, and remember that compost should be moist, but not too wet or too dry. Then build compost in a 1:2 or 1:3 ration, which means adding one part of nitrogen providing greens such as grass clippings, leaves, or kitchen scraps, and 2- 3 parts browns that could include dry leaves, cardboard, coffee filters, or brown paper bags to supply carbon.  Turning, sifting, and grating compost will expedite the process.

Applying finished compost to gardens or yards supports plant health and significantly reduces household waste. It also helps filter groundwater, improve soil health, and suppress plant diseases and pests. Composting supports a healthier climate as it can eliminate or significantly reduce the need for fertilizers that emit nitrous oxide (N2O), a greenhouse gas commonly associated with agricultural activity.

Q&A Growing Climate Solutions (GCS) and Amanda Rauktys (Naples Compost)

GCS: Does composting have any economic benefits?

Ms. Rauktys: Yes. Composting helps to eliminate your waste output and allows you to actively see how much is being wasted from your household or business.  This information can support more efficient spending on future purchases.

GCS: Do you have tips for other businesses looking to become more sustainable?

Ms. Rauktys: Every step forward to becoming more eco-friendly or waste conscious is a step in the right direction. It may seem difficult to see how one person can make an impact, but collectively, individual actions add up and can make a huge difference. So much waste can be turned into usable resources that benefit our earth. It’s a simple switch to simply toss your food scraps and compostable items into a different bin. Then you are closing the loop..

GCS: Where do you hope the business is heading with respect to sustainability and emissions reductions?

Ms. Rauktys: Our goal is to educate others on the need for composting and prevent compostable “waste” from being directed to the landfill. If someone doesn’t have the time or inclination to manage their own compost, we are happy to assist with the process, which we try to make it as seamless and easy as possible. We are always striving to reduce emissions and close the loop by further minimizing waste. We are also rolling out a new service, where we deliver eco-friendly and compostable goods in conjunction with composting. Since we are already driving to those locations and clients, we expect this to further reduce emissions.

Looking for more? Florida’s Agricultural Extension provides several composting tips and tools on this website. Whether through a service or in our own backyards, commit to composting and support a more stable climate – there is certainly no harm in trying!

 

 

 

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