Curbside Compost: Garbage into Gold

new Eau Claire business will turn your kitchen waste into compost – and take out the trash, too

Barbara Arnold, photos by Kelsey Smith

Zacharious and Jamie Pappas
Zacharious and Jamie Pappas

Red wiggler earthworms served as the initial inspiration for Zacharious and Jamie Pappas’ newly created business, Earthbound Environmental Solutions, which will offer curbside composting to individuals and families in the Eau Claire area.

The company will pick up food scraps and other organic material at a customer’s curb, and at its facility will create an end product – compost – which can be used in customers’ gardens.

“Earthbound is an idea that evolved from our desire to impact our community and environment in ways greater than any one individual can achieve.” – Zacharious and Jamie Pappas, founders, earthbound environmental solutions

Composting is a process that occurs in nature every day. Organic matter, such as fruit and vegetable table scraps, decompose and form what looks like dark dirt. This compost is rich in nutrients and is used to fertilize soil naturally.

“Earthbound is an idea that evolved from our desire to impact our community and environment in ways greater than any one individual can achieve,” the couple says. “For us, our journey started with red wigglers, which quickly progressed into coming up with a program that would make in-home organics recycling easy while also resulting in far greater environmental outcomes.”

With Earthbound Environmental Solutions, the husband and wife team (along with their dog, Charlie), who have made the Chippewa Valley their home for the past decade, aim to raise the bar and scalability of composting.

“When looking at the current waste management landscape, we determined that a marriage between organics recycling, traditional recycling, and garbage collection would result in a landfill diversion program, eventually creating additional green jobs as well as extending the life of our local landfill,” the couple continues.

The couple says Earthbound’s residential curbside service for garbage, recyclables, and compostable materials will be offered at a competitive quarterly price, based on the current hauling market in the area. Due to positive community support, the couple are offering a sign-up form available on their website for early adopters of the program.

They hope to be able to serve a limited number of residences as soon as this fall, and then progressively grow to serve the broader Eau Claire market. Customers will have the same day of service and same number of curbside receptacles. They will be provided with compostable bags and a countertop organics collection bin.

While not yet operational, progress is being made to scale up the 52-acre site that will be used to turn organic material into compost.

So What Can I Compost?

Kitchen: Food scraps (veggies, fruits, grains, frozen foods, etc.); soiled paper; pizza boxes; tissues; paper towels; paper cups and plates, etc.; coffee grounds, filters, teabags, etc.; paper towels, napkins, tissues, etc.; plant-based utensils (BPI Certified Products).

Bathroom: Tissues and paper towels (compostable paper products must not be soiled with fecal matter, blood-born pathogens, chemical-based solvent cleaners, etc.); beard clippings; hair clippings; pet hair clippings; Q-tips (paper middles).

Around the Yard: Grass clippings (herbicide/chemical free); leaves; shrub clippings.

Miscellaneous: Houseplant clippings; dead houseplants; dust and dirt sweepings.

To learn more, visit www.earthboundenviro.com,  search for “Earthbound Environmental Solutions” on Facebook, or call (715) 952-5608.

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