By Addie Radandt
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 22% of waste going to landfills and incinerators is food. Composting leftover food scraps is an easy way to reduce this waste, but factors like lack of space or physical ability can prevent people from doing so. Enter Earth Stew Compost Services, LLC, which will do the work for you.
Clients get a 4- or 5-gallon bucket to fill with food waste. Depending on how many scraps you generate and how much you’d like to spend, Earth Stew then comes and collects the bucket either on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. The company also provides shredded cardboard to help manage odors.
The food waste is taken to a local farm and composted in wooden bins. Once it has been composted down, it’s transported to a worm farm where worms break it down further into vermicompost. Yard waste, which worms can’t digest, is not allowed. Earth Stew then delivers the finished vermicompost back to you in the spring.
“Vermicompost makes a lot richer compost than regular compost,” says Joanne Tooley, permaculturist and owner of Earth Stew.
Tooley, who has a degree in landscape architecture from UW-Madison, was disturbed to learn how wasteful the U.S. food system is and took the step to become a master composter in 2011. Now her business makes it easy for people to take this simple step toward a more sustainable lifestyle.
Earth Stew Composting Service currently serves both households and small businesses in the cities of Madison, Middleton, Monona and Fitchburg.