The goal of the Adirondack Compost for Good project is to help Adirondack communities turn food and other organic “wastes” into high quality compost. This process keeps nutrients in the community, which builds local resilience, heals soils, and helps reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
If global food waste were a country, it would be the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Currently, community-level composting options are limited in the Adirondack region, but a new project is changing that. The goal of the Adirondack Compost for Good project is to help Adirondack communities turn food and other organic “wastes” into high quality compost. This process keeps nutrients in the community, which builds local resilience, heals soils, and helps reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
At the heart of Adirondack Compost for Good is a team of individuals who are passionate about composting: John Culpepper, Katie Culpepper, and Jennifer Perry. We have partnered with AdkAction to make food waste composting more commonplace throughout the region.
For years, the Compost for Good team has been reimagining our waste stream. We wondered how we could divert more of the resources so often landfilled and use them to do good work within our communities. We recognized the need for an effective, adaptable, and affordable composting system that can process unsorted food waste—including meat and dairy—and other organic materials. We believe that the design for our community-scale composter fits that need. The design has been tested through time. One of these composters has been in continuous operation for over four years, and four others have been in operation for eight months or more.
We believe that community composting is an important part of building a more resilient world. By keeping food waste local, we keep resources local, which allows us to more directly support our land and our neighbors. We invite you to learn more and bring this innovative model for composting to your own community.
Free, open-source community-scale composter design
This document outlines how the Compost for Good team designed and built a commercial-scale, rotating drum composter, capable of processing all of the unsorted food waste. This composter was built for approximately $15,000 in material cost. Similar-sized composters purchased on the open market range anywhere from $40,000 to $150,000. Our hope is that this document provides enough detail so that others may build their own composter, save money, keep food waste out of landfills, and generate a valuable product for use or sale. We are quite sure that further modifications can be made to reduce the material and labor costs involved in construction.
This operating manual includes general composting instruction and guidelines interspersed with specific details from experience operating our drum composter since early 2017. The manual is intended to be supplemented by in-person and phone consultation, educational videos and a site visit to an existing operational system. Contact the author if on-site training is desired. A design document, educational videos, and lesson plans are posted on our website and a list of additional resources can be found in section VIII; the user is encouraged to reference them. The design for the high flow in-vessel drum composter was born from a desire to find the most affordable and efficient way to compost mixed food waste, in a way that produces high quality soil amendments on an institutional scale.
NYS Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Law
Effective January 1, 2022, NYS has taken a stand to make the most of our food by mandating large generators of food scraps to redirect wholesome edible food to those in need and food scraps to organics recycling facilities where they will be recycled into a product beneficial to our environment.
Who will be impacted by the law? Large generators of food scraps (more than 2 tons of wasted food and food scraps per week on average) Examples: Restaurants, grocery stores, hotels & motels, colleges & universities, malls, event centers, etc
Donate directly to this project
Keep food waste out of landfills and rebuild healthy soils – support Adirondack Communities as they work towards a more sustainable future.
Bring Compost for Good to Your Community
We are committed to working with communities across the Adirondacks to help make drum composting facilities available. Consulting and advice is available outside of the region as well.