As we stay at home to celebrate Earth Day this year, one organization is helping to encourage Denver to waste less and use waste that we do create more productively. Compost Colorado (CoCo)– founded by Vannevar Fussell – gives you the tools needed to create your own compost while rewarding you with sample products from local sustainable businesses and more.
Composting has started to become a trend in urban communities with individuals and businesses looking for better ways to get rid of waste. The concept is to use waste that would otherwise be put in landfills into a compost container for the waste to be broken down and used as fertilizer for plants. CoCo (Compost Colorado) was created by Fussel in 2018, to make this process easier and more obtainable by giving different plans for your composting needs.
Fussell states, “Colorado has this reputation for progressive values and beautiful outdoors so I was confused when I found out that Denver has some of the lowest waste diversion rates in the country! As someone with a passion for sustainability and creativity, I tasked myself with creating a compost collection model that was accessible, inclusive and appealing for folks in Denver.”
Compost Colorado is tackling these low diversion rates by creating a system that provides rewards for composting. For example, every member receives a monthly “sustainability kit” full of samples from local sustainable businesses (think wool dryer balls, eco-friendly skincare and more) as well as a portion of the soil made from the compost. There’s also a Simple Swap store where you can buy full-sized items of these sustainable goods and get free shipping. From there, they offer three different plans based on how much you compost. The Simple Swaps plan for $11.99 per month, the Ecological Grubstaker for $27.99 per month and the CoCo Family Plan for $33.99 per month. The Ecological Grubstaker – the most popular plan – includes a three and a half-gallon container for composting with compost pick-up that is ideal for one to four people. The CoCo Family Plan offers a five-gallon container and compost pick-up that is best for three to five people. The Simple Swaps plan is for people who compost through the city but just want the sustainability kit samples and other perks.
Fussell explained, “there are only a couple different ways compost haulers collect food waste – through bio-plastic bags or by swapping the bucket. Because the bio-plastic bags rely on a single-use material that while compostable, requires a lot of energy and water to manufacture, I opted for the bucket swap method. In order to make composting more fun and appealing to folks, I integrated the delivery side into the clean bucket drop off. This allows members to get little ‘rewards’ for their sustainable behavior and provides an opportunity to introduce them to other local, progressive organizations in the area. In short, it harnesses the power of the circular economy by completing the waste loop!”
Once you get your composting pail you can start to fill it with compostable waste. Each week the organization will stop by for the bin to give you a new clean bin filled with locally made sustainable swaps for household items. Waste items that can be composted include coffee grounds, vegetable and fruit scraps, cardboard and printer paper. Find more information from the EPA here. Compost Colorado also offers up a yard waste pick-up program to get rid of branches, leaves and other yard debris that would instead be taken to the landfill.
CoCo works with more than 30 local businesses such as Amethyst Coffee Company, Colorado Public Radio and Sexy Pizza have taken Compost Colorado on to cut waste and reduce the greenhouse gas footprint they make, helping Denver take another step towards becoming more sustainable. The organization also works with around a dozen more brands on outreach programs and different Simple Swaps projects. Currently, there are over 2,000 members of CoCo, helping lessen their impact on the environment through composting.
Before the Stay At Home Order went into place Compost Colorado had plans to expand its delivery service initiatives. However, those plans changed.
“At first it seemed like COVID-19 threw a big wrench at our growth and development, but when I started talking to our commercial partners who were impacted much more, I realized that this was an opportunity to help our community by safely connecting our partners and other local vendors with our residential members,” stated Fussell.
Compost Colorado then turned to its Simple Swaps program to help support the local communities while allowing residents to shop local, without leaving their homes. Future plans for the eco-friendly company are to continue its zero-waste mission by expanding farther into the Front Range.
As the Stay At Home Order continues, you can lessen the amount of waste you contribute to the world with the assistance of Compost Colorado and reap the benefits of doing so.
For more info on Compost Colorado, go here.