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Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013

Heroes of the Week: Kompost Kids Volunteers

Kompost Kids
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Founded about four years ago by Melissa Tashjian, the nonprofit Kompost Kids creates soil for community gardens out of food scraps collected from businesses and residents and educates the community about composting. About 20 businesses use the Kids’ 12 compost sites located throughout Greater Milwaukee. Last year, Kompost Kids diverted about 64,000 pounds of organic pre-consumer waste collected from about 12 businesses and anticipates the volume to double this year. That saves the community money that would otherwise go to the landfill operators. Between 15 and 20 “compost couriers” pick up pre-consumer scraps (except dairy and meat) from those participating in the program and deliver the collected goodies to the compost sites. In the near future, Kompost Kids will roll out a post-consumer scraps pilot with hopes of diverting about 80% of restaurants’ waste stream. Applications to become part of the pilot program are being accepted now.

“Our volunteers are everything,” says Tashjian. “They are a diverse group of individuals from all walks of life. They pick up scraps from businesses for free using their own vehicles or bicycles. We have people that help us build and maintain compost bins, work with the city on waste diversion, teach compost classes and do all that techie stuff that I don’t get. We are the soil generation!”

Every Saturday, Kompost Kids flip, by hand, the compost bins at their demonstration site in Bay View behind Sweet Water Milwaukee (2151 S. Robinson Ave.). Additionally, UW-Extension and Kompost Kids will offer quarterly Master Compost classes, with the first scheduled for Aug. 24 in Bay View. Volunteers are always needed for flipping compost bins and transporting compostables, as well as those who are versed in nonprofits, law and education. The nonprofit is also collecting money to purchase a truck for compost pick-ups. For more information, visit kompostkids.com or contact Tashjian at melissa.tashjian@kompostkids.com or 414-395-9931.