photograph by Madeline Gray

“You get to do all of this amazing work with your banana peel, just by setting it in a bin.” 

–Justin Senkbeil, co-founder, CompostNow

Three young entrepreneurs are making composting convenient. “Forty percent of the food we grow in the U.S. ends up as waste. So many people think they don’t produce food waste, and they’re surprised when they start our service,” says Justin Senkbeil.

The service is CompostNow, founded by Raleighite Matt Rostetter in 2011 with the help of co-founders Senkbeil and Dominique Bischoff. The company’s weekly delivery and pick-up method is a way for those living without compost-pile-friendly yards (or the desire to take on home composting) to reduce household waste. You receive a small black, odor-sealed bin to toss food scraps in; once a week, set the bin out for pick-up, just like the city trash or recycling bins.

For every 10 pounds of waste, five pounds of composted soil is produced. Thanks to a partnership with Brooks Compost Facility, which cultivates a huge, mature, compost pile, customers can compost more variety than in a backyard setup – including meat bones, dairy, and compostable cups and lids. Monthly subscribers can either receive their composted soil for gardening and planting, or pay it forward and donate to a local community garden or farm. Garden partners include Goodwill Community Foundation Farm and Inter-Faith Food Shuttle.

Senkbeil says they’ve noticed substantial growth as cultural environmental awareness has increased. The business has grown beyond home pick-ups to downtown offices and restaurants, like Bida Manda and Raleigh Raw. There are also CompostNow hubs in other cities, such as Asheville, North Carolina. “We’re diverting waste, and creating soil.
All locally.”   –Catherine Currin