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.

Community-Scale Composting 

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 our 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. AdkAction has brought this team under our wing to make organic waste composting more commonplace throughout the region.

Compost for Good is working to divert more of the resources so often landfilled and using them to do good work within our communities. There is a growing need for effective, adaptable, and affordable community composting systems that can process unsorted food waste—including meat and dairy—and other organic materials. The large-scale composter designed by Compost for Good fits that need, and is up to the challenge. The first of these composters has been in continuous operation for over four years, and four others have been in operation for eight months or more. The open-source design guide and operator manual for the composter are freely available to all.

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. 

Our Impact

pounds of food waste and other organics composted
pounds of greenhouse gas emissions prevented
Number of our in-vessel composters in Upstate NY

Learn more about one of the in-vessel composters here:

Placid Earth

Placid Earth: Student-Run Composter In 2017 three in-vessel composters were funded through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) Cleaner Greener Communities program. The Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) secured NYSERDA funding for the systems.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How big is the drum? Current design is 4-foot diameter, 20-foot long. The composters are designed to fit inside of a 40-foot shipping container, allowing them to be placed in a parking lot or otherwise close to where food waste is generated. The composter can also be housed in an existing structure.

What goes in? Unsorted food waste including meat and dairy, other organics, and a carbon bulking material (e.g.: wood chips, sawdust, wood shavings, etc.).

How much waste can one composter process? This  composter was sized to process about 35,000 pounds of unsorted food waste per year. This is roughly the amount of waste that a community of 250 generates through the course of a year. (Under certain conditions, the composter can accommodate up to 50,000 pounds of food waste per year.)

How long does it take to turn waste into a resource? Though it depends on the materials and other conditions, this process can happen in just a few weeks’ time.

How can I get the free design guide and operating manual? The design for this composter, operating manual and supporting documents are free and available to anyone who is interested. It is a relatively simple design and we hope through collaboration with other communities and organizations we can continue to adapt the design to meet a variety of needs all across the Adirondacks and beyond. 

How much does this composter cost? We have designed this composter to be simple, with material costs of $15,000, with hope of finding ways to reduce the cost even more. The labor cost will vary whether an individual does the construction or whether the labor is hired out.

What kind of support does this project offer? We want more communities to have access to what we have learned through years of experimentation, as well as the technical support, educational tools and essential information that is needed to make composting more effective and community efforts more successful. Whether through setting up site visits to observe a composter in action, a phone call to discuss viability of this design for a specific area, or assistance to find funding, we want to support Adirondack composting efforts. We can also put you in touch with others in our region who can build the composter and deliver it to you.

Why “Compost for Good”? It is our hope that this initiative will provide individuals with business opportunities, and organizations and communities with better waste management solutions leading towards a more regenerative Adirondack food system and more resilient communities. 

Together, we can compost for good!



Composting Resources

Explore our collection of resources for composting at every level, from backyard beginner to large-scale community composting projects.

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Support this project 

Keep food waste out of landfills and rebuild healthy soils by making a gift to our Compost for Good project fund.

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. 

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