My experience composting with Impact Earth
Did you know that nearly 120 billion pounds of food are wasted every year in the United States? Food waste in the residential sector makes up around 39% of this waste. One way to reduce the amount of food in your home that ends up in a landfill is to start composting. My family didn’t want to go through the effort of making our own compost bin in our backyard and they were concerned about attracting creatures like racoons so I found a service in Rochester, New York through Impact Earth, a local company founded in 2014 devoted to waste reduction.
Impact Earth collects your food scraps from a bin, either through a curbside pickup subscription or by exchanging your bins at a farmers market or approved retail location. I’ve been bringing our full bin about once a month to Lori’s Natural Foods in Henrietta to exchange it for an empty one, while the food scraps are brought to a local landfill to be turned into compost.
My family appreciates the fact that we do not need to put the time, money, and effort into maintaining our own compost bin. If we were monitoring our own bin we’d need to keep track of rotating and aerating it and making sure there is enough balance of green and brown material so it doesn’t become just a pile of rotting food. It’s also a relatively low cost (currently $7) as we drop off our bins at a retail partner location instead of subscribing to their weekly pickups. There are currently six locations you can drop off your bin at but they say they will be expanding in 2023. You can also choose to receive finished compost every spring made out of the whole community’s donations.
The biggest con is probably the smell from the bin whenever it is opened. We keep our bin outside for this exact reason. The problem is that we are almost entirely dumping food scraps in there, which begin to rot if we let them sit for too long. We don’t want to bring in the bin if it’s not that full, so we usually wait about a month but it does start to smell bad quite quickly. They’ve also raised the prices at their retail partner locations from $5 to $7 but if you go to them directly when they’re at a farmers market (looks like the only option is Brighton) you can still pay the $5 fee instead. We also missed the time window to pick up finished compost last year because there was very limited communication about it so it’s something you need to make sure you put in your calendar to ask about once spring comes around.
Overall, I would recommend trying out Impact Earth if you are in Rochester, NY and looking for a way to compost without fully doing it yourself.
Written by Sarah Woodams ‘24(T5)