The number of Memphis residents and businesses looking to set aside a mix of food waste and organic waste is growing. A unique roadside composting service in Memphis says they are expanding, which translates directly into a reduction in landfill waste.

A new partnership between the Memphis-based roadside pick-up service Compost Fairy and national industrial compost operator Atlas Organics is the result of a growing customer base who want to hand out buckets of smelly organic matter every week.

“It’s just amazing what the fairy has done,” said Jim Davis, vice president of strategic development for Atlas Organics, referring to the growth of the Compost Fairy’s residential program.

“We are excited about the acquisition as we can bring capital to the program and grow it further,” said Davis.

In mid-2019, the Kompostfee was a small team that looked after around 100 households in Memphis. Now the number of households dutifully setting aside coffee grounds, eggshells, and other scraps of food has risen to over 700, Davis said.

This means that Atlas Organics will operate in Memphis through its residential real estate service division, Compost House. The role of the compost fairy will now focus on education and sustainability.

“This has been our heart from the start,” said Caroline Norris, CEO of Compost Fairy. “We have been great colleagues for years, they are experts in industrial composting and we operate on a small scale. This enables us to recycle tens of thousands more pounds of food waste. “

On the living side, little will change as a result of the new partnership.

For $ 30 a month, Compost House picks up two airtight, four-pound buckets of food waste and biodegradable paper products once a week. With $ 20 a month you will be picked up from home twice a month. You can also drop off your waste in the compost house bins in the Cooper Young Church First Congregational parking lot.

For example, if you want to bring buckets back into your home with ready-made compost soil for flower beds, ask.

The service eliminates the need for residents to do the hard work of mixing and maintaining compost heaps in the back yard. Offices and restaurants can also register for collection.

And while the food waste collection buckets now have a different name, the Compost Fairy will continue the sustainability work in Memphis by focusing on telling others about the immediate benefits of recycling food waste.

“Your food waste is recycled here in Memphis,” said Norris. When glass or plastics are recycled the process is multi-step and solid waste operators usually have to find a buyer for recycled goods.

Running the compost house eliminates the middle steps, Norris said. Households can immediately contain the amount of waste that would otherwise rot in a landfill, releasing methane gases in the process.

An important step that enables Compost House to scale up quickly is collecting animal bones, according to Davis. In Tennessee, residents cannot throw animal bones in their garden compost, as mandated by the state’s Department of the Environment and Conservation.

Compost Fairy co-founder Mike Larrivee, who, according to Norris, is the resident “science guy,” noted that animal bones are one of the main sources of food waste that an industrial company could collect.

The extra step of including animal bones may sound insignificant, but the addition of commercial customers like Central BBQ will allow Compost House to further increase both the raw customer count and the overall tonnage of food waste.

“We’re talking now that 40% of our waste stream can now be composted and recycled. That was very important for us to be able to offer this to our customers,” said Norris.

Overall, the compost trip from 100 participating households to 700 participating households and companies took less than three years for the Kompostfee team. This is proof that the team has fulfilled the Memphians’ common desire for more sustainability.

“The fairies,” said Davis, “obviously started something else in Memphis.”

Micaela Watts is a breaking news reporter for The Commercial Appeal and can be reached at [email protected]