Many are familiar with composting but aren’t sure where to get started to integrate it into their lives – look no further than Midtown Composting in Detroit, Michigan. We spoke with Midtown’s CEO and Co-Founder, Michael Edwards, about Midtown Composting’s mission to emphasize collaboration with fellow local businesses, community support, and putting intention into next-level care for the planet and its inhabitants.
ES: Tell us how Midtown Composting got started.
MC: The business has undergone an amazing evolution within the realm of sustainability. When we first started with the original owner Tim Campbell, he was running composting and sustainability solutions for businesses in the Detroit area. In early discussions, he wanted someone to help with doing residential food waste pickups while he handled pickups for the businesses. We struck a deal to give it a trial for six months. Now, here we are five years later, picking up between 15,000 to 20,000 pounds of food waste a week to turn into compost.
ES: Wow, 15,000 to 20,000 pound a week! How does it work?
MC: We pick up either 30 or 50-gallon bins from residential areas and businesses. We currently have between 1,200 and 1,300 customers that utilize our services. Once the bins are gathered at the end of the routes, we take the waste to our collaborators. We are currently working with three different composting and recycling businesses that help compost what we pick up. sCountry Oaks Compost, Tuthill Farms Composting, and Detroit Garden Compost are all local small businesses in the Detroit area that support our mission and dedicate themselves to helping the community in the same vein as us. Ultimately, we are working together to do our collective part in reducing landfill waste.
ES: What services do you offer in addition to pickup?
MC: Anything nature and maintenance related! Our shop sells finished compost, mulch, various types of soil, and vermicompost, which is comprised of worms and other wigglers. We also have compostable bags, cutlery, to-go containers, and cups available. Beyond that, we offer services in sustainable landscape consultation, snow removal, eco-lawncare and manicuring, and recycling for businesses and neighborhoods alike. We do everything as tightly local and community-oriented as possible.
ES: How would you describe sustainable landscaping?
MC: Finding alternatives for fertilizer, pulling weeds by hand, and using as eco-conscious methods as possible. Above all, we buckle down on incorporating composting and educating along the way. While there are conscious fertilizers out there, we want to pass on the knowledge we have about the benefits of composting in the event of a shortage. We need to be able to replenish our food stocks and land in all forms.
ES: It seems like you are really putting the community in the spotlight.
MC: Absolutely. It comes down to people. We take so much pride in helping to shift the consumer mindset into community care. We do this by providing stability and collaborating with people and businesses in our community based on their true needs and goals. We make it a point to hire people right here in our neighborhood, locally working together to make the world a healthier place. Moreover, we prioritize the actual health of our people. We start by offering health-conscious meals to those on the job because we believe that access helps reduce illness or injury. Taking care of a community is so much more than going through the motions. It’s creating stability for the members in it.
ES: What would you say is the most important message that comes along with your work?
MC: When people are healthy, and the land is healthy, everyone thrives. Help yourself and help those closest to you to help the community as a whole.
ES: How can people get involved?
MC: Our business is evolving, and we want to get the word out! Visit our website, check out our services, share with people you know who live in the area, and keep an eye on our events. Our food waste pickups are just $20 a month, less than what you would spend on a night out. We’re here to help make the world a better place.
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