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A backyard composting campaign may be diverting 66 tons of food waste from area landfills

A two-year backyard composting campaign in Crow Wing County likely diverted 66 tons of food waste from area landfills, according to an Environmental Protection Agency model.

The Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), Crow Wing County Extension (CWC) Master Gardeners and the Northland Arboretum report the campaign has been successful.

“This partnership hosted 19 backyard compost workshops with 290 adults in attendance and provided backyard composting school lessons for 450 students. Many thanks to Master Gardeners volunteers,” said Melissa Barrick, SWCD district manager, in a news release.

Barrick said the Northland Arboretum sold more than 500 compost bins and municipalities and the SWCD sold more than 300 backyard compost bins.

Backyard composting food scraps and yard wasted increased by 39 percent and composting food waste increased by 4 percent, according to compost bin pre and post surveys.

Jackie Froemming, CWC Extension Master Gardener coordinator, said Extension has more than 60 certified master gardeners who are looking for opportunities to volunteer.

“Master Gardeners are a great asset to community,” Froemming said. “They provide information and workshops such as the backyard composting.”

In 2010, SWCD was awarded Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) waste reduction grant of $ 41,615 to reduce the amount of organic materials generated to the Crow Wing County landfill.

“Food and non-recyclable paper are about 22 percent (12 percent food, 10 percent non-recyclable paper) of the municipal solid waste generated in Minnesota each year,” said Ginny Black, MPCA project manager. “The MPCA has set a goal of recycling 15 percent of the food and non-recyclable paper by 2030. Currently, the state recycles 3 percent of the food and non-recycle paper, or approximately 200,000 tons in 2010. Composting food waste in the backyard helps to achieve the goal.”

The SWCD staff and board thanked all the partners and volunteers who participated in this grant program.

Dale Braddy, Northland Arboretum executive director, said the grant provided funds needed to test and turn the Arb’s public leaf and grass clipping composting site, which in return provides the community with compost for yards and gardens that is safe and usable.

For additional information on composting or the survey results contact Melissa Barrick via email or by phone 828-6197.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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