To prepare for Thanksgiving, Delhi Community Compost is offering a free trial week of its composting services.
The trial began Monday. Normally, the service has an initial sign-up fee of $10 and then costs $5 per month. Maria Schermerhorn, Delhi Community Compost owner and operator said. Depending on guest list size, people may request either a bucket or two or a 15-gallon barrel, according to Delhi Community Compost’s Facebook page.
For particularly large crowds, there are 35-gallon cans available for $5. Signs will be provided to help guests understand what to put in the compost bins.
After Thanksgiving, a large amount of food often ends up in landfills, Schermerhorn said. Twenty two percent of poultry, 34% of fresh vegetables, 31% of grain products and 17% of processed food is lost at the retail and consumer levels, according to 2014 estimates from the United States Department of Agriculture.
Composting is taking organic material that would otherwise be discarded and adding it to soil to act as a rich fertilizer. Together, food scraps and yard waste comprise more than 28% of what gets thrown away that could be composted instead, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s website.
Composting keeps these materials out of landfills, preventing them from taking up space and releasing the potent greenhouse gas methane, according to the website.
Schermerhorn said her original inspiration came more than 10 years ago after she read a Mother Earth News article about a Vermont compost company. She said she dreamed of having something similar in Delaware County.
“So those were the seeds that were planted in me years ago and it just took awhile to grow,” she said in a Facebook message to The Daily Star.
Schermerhorn said she does the composting at her farm, Paradise in Disguise Hobby Farm. The farm’s chickens help out by scratching and digging in the soil, which stirs it up and aerates it, she said.
“Basically it feeds the soil,” Schermerhorn said. “When chickens also mix in their own manure, it adds to the fertility of the compost.”
All compost produced by Delhi Community Compost goes to local farms and gardens to go back into the food production cycle, Schermerhorn said. She said Delaware County’s composting facility is not approved for vegetable or fruit production.
In September, she estimated Delhi Community Compost saved more than 2,300 gallons of food waste.
For more information, visit Delhi Community Compost’s Facebook page or call 607-746-8028.
Shweta Karikehalli, staff writer, can be reached at email@example.com or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_ShwetaK on Twitter.