What is composting?
Composting is the process of taking wasted food and turning it into compost (the end product), which is a great additive to indoor and outdoor soils.
When food waste is gathered into a pile in the yard or sent to an industrial composting facility the dense pile of food waste begins to generate heat suitable for microorganisms to live in. Over 1-3 months the microorganisms break down the organic waste into pure nutrients, or compost, and when mixed into regular soil provides a boost of extremely rich nutrients!
Why is it important to compost?
There are several reasons why composting is important. For one, it saves food from rotting in landfills. Food is meant to decompose and will do so no matter where it is. But when decomposition happens in a landfill it is surrounded by plastics, toxins, and other inorganic (non-living) compounds. So the essential microorganisms that break organic materials down do not live there, thus, the food waste rots instead of properly decomposing. When food rots it actually releases methane, an incredibly harmful Green House Gas (GHG), into the landfill, creating a toxic environment.
Another reason composting is important is it brings nutrients back into soils that are depleted. If you think about nature that is untouched by humans, it goes through a natural cycle of decomposition. Think of a fruiting tree. Every year the leaves and fruits fall off the tree and onto the ground at the base of the tree. Naturally, the leaves and fallen fruits will decompose and the soil is replenished with the nutrients that were contained in the leaves and fruits. But when we remove the leaves and fruits, the soil around the tree is not being replenished, but it still needs nutrients in order to feed the tree and grow the fruit. The same goes for any agricultural crops and gardens.
So composting is important because when wasted food is disposed of correctly it can decompose, which reduces the amount of methane being released by food waste, and instead brings nutrients into soil!
What are the DOs and DON'Ts of my Dirt Cheap Compost bin? What can I compost?
Since we bring your wasted food to an industrial composting facility we can accept a lot more items than an at home compost could.
- We DO accept: anything that was once an organic and living component, so bones, meats, seafood, vegetables, fruits, even hair from your hair brush. Paper towels, napkins, tissues, and even pizza boxes are a-ok thanks to our incredible local industrial composting partner! (If you do compost your pizza boxes, put them on top of your bin, not inside!)
- Maybe: Plates, to-go containers, cups, napkins are all acceptable as long as they DO NOT have a plastic, laminated, or wax film/coating attached to them. They need to be made of natural materials like wood, wood pulps, bamboo, cotton, etc.
- We do NOT accept: dog poop, human poop, QR stickers on fruits and vegetables (please remove the stickers), tape, or plastic.
What type of bags are compost safe?
They must have the BPI (Biodegradable Products Institute) Certification and we strongly prefer them to have the CMA (Compost Manufacturing Alliance) Certification too.
To read up on the different terminologies used in the composting world, we recommend reading “How Different Are Compost Bags, Really?” by EcoSafe.Green as we couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
How often does DCC pick up my compost?
Once a week, every week, on the same day. (Usually Wednesday.)
Can I pause my pickup service?
Yes, if you need to go out of town we can pause your service and resume it when you return - just email us to let us know when you will be out of town and do not need service. Your card will still be charged monthly automatically on your charge date unless you pause service for at least a full 30 days (we unfortunately cannot prorate weeks).
Why do you call it "composting" if compost is the end product?
Calling your wasted food “compost” is easier for people to understand as it is the generic term people use to refer to the whole process. The term compost has a literal meaning and a figurative one. So feel free to call it wasted food, as we often do, but we’re still going to call it compost too.
Can I compost at home instead?
If you have a backyard or shared yard space you can create your own at home compost pile. This is not something we teach but is feasible to learn on your own. If you would like to compost but want a hassle free experience or want to compost without a yard then our home pick up composting service is made for you. By sending your kitchen scraps away with us you will reduce your GHG emissions and do what's best for our shared future and your local, national, and global communities. All you have to do is bag your kitchen scraps each day. We'll take care of all the hard stuff.
What services do you offer?
We offer weekly at home compost pickup services. Just fill up your bags in the kitchen during your normal routine, and tie them up and put them in your bin at your front door – we'll swing by each week to empty your bin for you and drop off your food scraps at the local industrial composting center. If you live in an apartment and want to compost then you can keep your bin inside your kitchen and use a larger sized composting bag each week instead of several smaller ones.
How does your service work?
After you sign up, we will drop off a secure, sealable compost bin with an animal-proof / odor-locking lid to your home, plus your first month of compostable bags – our treat! Fill those bags with compostable materials like kitchen scraps throughout the week; when each bag is full, tie it up and put it in the bin at your front door. Each week on the same day, we'll swing by and empty your bin, and drop off your compost at our industrial composting partner.
What is the cost of your service?
Our weekly service costs $19 per month, per household. If you purchase an annual plan, the cost is $199 (only about $16.58 per month).
What areas do you serve?
We currently serve homes west of Denver in the Arvada, Wheat Ridge, Golden, and Lakewood areas (including surrounding neighborhoods like Edgewater, Lakeside, Applewood, etc.). We are members of the Wheat Ridge Business Association and are very active in our community!
What do you do with the compost after it's picked up?
The compost is taken to our partner industrial composting facility in Parker (also a locally owned small business!) where it's turned into rich, nutrient-filled soil that can be used for gardening and farming.
Why should I choose Dirt Cheap Compost over other composting services?
- Price. If you find a better monthly price than $19, email it to us, and we'll match it. We've built out an extremely lean and efficient business model that allows us to operate on razor-thin margins, which increases the accessibility of a sustainable practice like composting to more households. We even saved money by doing our logo and website ourselves instead of paying someone (can you tell?).
- First month's bags for free. We don't believe in making you run errands to get started.
- Local Wheat Ridge small business, family owned and operated.
- Easily accessible – text us at 303-500-7030 anytime, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can I sign up?
You can sign up right here!
Is composting really that beneficial to the environment?
Yes, composting is one of the most impactful ways to reduce landfill waste and the methan released in landfills – it reduces food greenhouse emissions by about 50%! Composting returns valuable nutrients to the soil, and can offset as much as 975 kg of CO2 per person per year! (That's the carbon equivalent of planting 20 new adult trees, every year!)
Do you provide the compost bin or do I need to purchase my own?
Yes, we drop off a wide-mouth, animal-secure, leak-proof compost bin as part of your membership :) there's no need for you to purchase your own. We also provide 1 month's worth of compostable kitchen scrap bags!
How do I prepare my compost for pickup?
Just make sure your compost bags are all tied up and in the provided bin on your pickup day. We'll swing by and handle the rest!
What do I do if my bin is damaged or goes missing?
If your bin is damaged or missing, please contact our customer service team and we will arrange for a replacement at a $30 cost, or you can get your own bin at your convenience. (For your own safety and sanity, please be sure to get a bin with an animal-proof lid that can hold about a week's worth of compost, or 5 gallons for the average family.)
What day of the week will my compost be picked up?
Generally the pickup day is Wednesday, but your pickup day may vary depending on your address. If you have an issues or need assistance please email us at email@example.com to discuss your needs.
What if I produce more compost than the bin can hold?
If you regularly produce more compost than the bin can hold, contact us to discuss potential solutions, which could include providing a larger bin, an additional bin, or arranging more frequent pickups. Usually you can leave your extra compost by the bin (in a tied compostable bag) and we'll take it without any fuss.
Is your service available year-round?
Yes, our compost pickup service is available year-round, regardless of the season. For driver safety during very inclement weather, we may email you to move your pickup by a day or two.
Do I need to rinse my bin after it's been emptied?
While it's not required, rinsing your bin monthly with water and letting it sun-dry can help reduce odors and keep your bin clean.
Who is the crackerjack team behind DCC?
Co-founders and operators Madison and Colin are local Wheat Ridge residents. You may know them from around town, as Colin is also Founder and CEO of local sustainable bedding brand Sheets & Giggles (featured on Good Morning America for Earth Day 2023!), and Madison is a former eco-friendly real estate agent and host of the "Eco-Friendly Homes" podcast, currently working as an archaeologist!