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On-site Composting Enables Organizations to Live Their Values

As we shared in our last post, Loop Closing partnered with Recycle Leaders LLC and Soilful to complete their DOEE’s Sustainable DC-sponsored pilot project, “Food First: A Replicable Model for Engaging Ward 7 and 8 Residents in Taking Action on Sustainable DC Topics.” In this second pilot, we were excited to partner with DC Central Kitchen (DCCK) and THEARC to install an on-site composting system at the DCCK Café. Both are already doing best practices of waste reduction and recovery and are strongly connected to the community - perfect partners for this initiative!

We installed a mechanized composting machine, provided initial training to DCCK staff, and produced a google form to guide users when operating the machine and collect data. Initially, we entered almost three hundred pounds of food waste into the machine, and we were off! Already on Day Three, we reached 135 degrees, meaning the material had been sanitized and safe for growing produce for immediate consumption. Fourteen community members were trained to operate the composting machine – which they loved doing! The team of trained composters was able to cover for and help each other – the teamwork was inspiring.

We are remarkably relieved with our results. We achieved alignment and buy-in to implement this change, creating new business practices for composting at three key levels: management that controls the finances; on-site managers responsible for the staff; and staff that do the work. As it was such a success, at the conclusion of this grant, DCCK and Loop Closing contractually agreed to continue operations and community education.

Loop Closing strongly believes organizations – and their individual people - should be supported in their desire to live their values of diverting food waste from landfills and incinerators; managing food waste as a food resource using on-site composting systems; and furthering community self-agency while deploying a circular, inclusive, and regenerative approach. In our work with DCCK, we have demonstrated technical and economic feasibility, which we hope to replicate elsewhere in the near future.


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