Consider Composting

Food to Power Expands Compost Opportunities in Colorado Springs

Have you ever thought about where your trash goes? That’s the question Food to Power’s Compost Operations Manager Janerio Hardy hopes to encourage residents of Colorado Springs to consider. He wants people to get curious about where food waste goes and think about how that affects the planet.

Local nonprofit Food to Power operates a compost program for businesses and residences in Colorado Springs. They offer compost curbside pickup service to cover most of Colorado Springs. Dropoff stations are also available throughout the city.

Hardy says Food to Power hopes to demonstrate that food waste is not actually waste. He says, “If you want to turn it back into gold, you can.”

Benefits of Composting

Why should people consider composting? The benefits of composting are numerous. Composting is the process of turning food scraps into a helpful soil amendment. Colorado Springs is a semi-arid, high-desert climate and compost is crucial for water retention in the soil, and erosion and flood prevention. In addition, people often complain about their trash smelling and trash attracts bears and other animals in many areas of the city. Putting food scraps into a sealed bucket rather than a trash can is a simple step that can reduce those issues.

In a landfill, food scraps decompose anaerobically (without oxygen). Food scraps in a landfill smell and emit methane gas which is harmful to the environment. When food scraps are collected and turned into compost in an aerobic (with oxygen) context, the scraps are turned so air can get to them and kept at safe temperatures to encourage good bacteria to thrive during the decomposition process.

Ruthie Markwardt, Food to Power’s compost director says, “A common misconception about composting is that it’s going to be a very stinky and unpleasant process, but I find when it’s going well it has kind of a sweet, earthy smell.”

Composting helps plants survive in our environment and some initial research is showing that compost can help in preventing fires. By composting, residents and businesses can play a critical, positive role in improving the ecosystem and keeping resources within the community.

Educational Opportunities

Markwardt says, “We host workshops and classes to help make composting easier and more accessible for people in their own homes if they would like to compost at home or just learn more about the process.”

Classes like Composting 101 are offered for those wanting to learn more. Food to Power also works with youth in the summers to give them hands-on learning experience with the composting process so they can discover more about why composting is important for the community and the planet.

Composting can seem intimidating if you don’t know where to start and there can be some misunderstandings. Many don’t realize that composting is different from rot and natural decomposition. People manage the composting process which increases the speed, makes it safe to grow food in the nutrient rich material, and reduces harmful gasses emitted into the environment.

Twice a week from May through November, volunteers can come help with composting at Food to Power’s Hillside Hub and learn through that opportunity, as well. Community members are welcome to come in to learn and help.

Hardy says, "It’s important to be accessible to community members who want to come in and learn how to do this."

Markwardt wants people to know that through composting, you can take something that might be considered a nuisance or waste and turn it into a super valuable resource.

For more information about educational opportunities or to sign-up for the Food to Power Compost program, please visit their website.

Website:   https://foodtopowerco.org/compost
Facebook + Instagram: @FoodToPower

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