Today we’d like to introduce you to Margaret Blackmon.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Margaret. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I think I have always been a hippie at heart. I was born in Texas and lived for a brief time in Colorado where I most indulged my tree-hugger nature. I love animals, the outdoors and all things that grown, live, die and are reborn in the beautiful circle of life – and I have never been afraid to be dirty, sweaty or tired! I think a natural extension of these passions is a desire to live a low-impact life – leaving the smallest possible impact on the earth and maybe even helping and healing is where I am able. One way I strive to do this is to always be mindful of how much waste I create in my daily life; What did I use only once and was it necessary? Was there a renewable alternative? Did I buy too much of something? Could I have used something I had instead of buying something new? And any conversation about waste and landfill use has to include management of organic waste – in other words, food waste and other items that would decompose naturally if they were not packed into a landfill to produce greenhouse gasses and toxic run-off. Unfortunately, Texas is second only to California in terms of tonnage of greenhouse gas production from landfills. I found that there weren’t many solutions in my area for individuals to redirect these items from their landfill trash. While many cities across the country have either private or public composting services of some kind – none existed near me in the Coppell/Lewisville area. So, I decided to start composting on my own and began offering to compost scraps from my neighbors as well.
Has it been a smooth road?
Spreading the word about composting and waste reduction has been challenging – but that’s not surprising. While many parts of the world – and even the U.S. – are very mindful of organic waste re-purposing or composting, our area seems to still need a little encouragement sometimes. I have had people who want me to pay them for their food waste. I have had people tell me that sorting out recycling is hard enough and they can’t do more. I’ve had people tell me that if the law requires composting they will do it – but not before. Some people think food and organics breakdown the same way in a landfill or out of it, so they don’t see a reason. But at any public event, private organization, environmental outreach or other opportunities I love these chances to talk to people about waste in our environment and how it affects us right where we live, and on a global scale. And I have learned that providing easy and inexpensive ways to compost are vital for engagement so I am always working on that as well. Some people are so pumped up about composting and waste reduction that they make me look like an amateur. I love these people !!!
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the CompostHaste story. Tell us more about it.
CompostHaste was formally organized in March of 2018. It provides curbside compost pick-up service in the North West Dallas suburbs with an emphasis on residential service and education, We also provide service to small businesses and for events such as festivals, corporate gatherings, and parties. Our curbside customers receive a 5-gallon bucket with a compostable liner, and a magnet outlining all the items they can place in their bucket and therefore divert from the landfill. These items include all food scraps and trimmings, meats, dairy, coffee grounds, paper towels, compostable BPI serviceware, etc. Once weekly, the bucket is picked up and exchanged for a clean one. Buckets are weighed and customers are given that information so they can watch the weight add up and be proud of their carbon offset. After six months of home service, our customers start receiving finished compost back and continue to receive it quarterly. If they would prefer to donate the compost it is given to the Coppell Community Gardens or the recipient of their choice. Businesses and events work in a similar manner, with the size of bin and schedule of pick-up customized to their needs. All the food we collect is composted commercially, and the result is an amazing certified organic product.
In addition to pick-up service, we have recently started providing an organics drop-off location at the Coppell Farmer’s Market every other Saturday. Organics drop-off is free to market patrons, or for a small fee, participants can rent 5-gallon buckets to exchange at the market. This allows patrons to bring full buckets and receive clean ones in exchange and never have to wash containers or use plastic bags (we use rainwater on our property to wash buckets). This program has enjoyed wonderful success and I’m so excited about the opportunity to talk about food waste every Saturday to people at the market. It’s a great match!
The aspect of our company of which I am most proud is that all profits go directly to our very newly formed non-profit organization called Waste Free World. Through the non-profit, we do public outreach and education such as teaching compost classes, providing composting service to other charitable organizations or causes, and hope in the new future to bring composting and waste reduction to areas not traditionally reached for these types of services. All efforts are focused in the greater Dallas area only as we really hope to make a local difference.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I think attitudes and practices around food waste diversion will catch on in Dallas a big way over the coming years. Austin recently set a great example by passing an ordinance in October of last year requiring all city restaurants to dispose of food waste in a responsible manner through donation or composting. Of course, this follows the lead of cities like San Francisco and Seattle where zero-waste public initiatives have stressed composting of organics for years. San Antonio now has city-wide composting publicly available as part of their new pay-as-you-throw program. It is estimated that about a third of all trash in Texas landfills could have been composted and I’m so excited to see the new awareness for redirecting this waste. It’s an exciting time for Texas.
- Residential curbside pick-up is $25.95 / month or $285.50 annually.
- Market membership (bucket rental program) is $20.00 for the summer season (through September)
- Business and event composting vary based on volume and frequency.
- Website: Composthaste.com
- Phone: 214-695-1747
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @composthaste.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/composthaste/
Blackall Photography (for the images so named)