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Natural Awakenings Milwaukee Magazine

Anyone Can Compost

Jun 30, 2021 08:30AM ● By Sheila Julson
Composting is a great way to contribute positive action that helps the planet. Many organic farmers and home gardeners use compost to grow healthier plants that are better able to fight off disease. Compost can also be an effective way to sequester carbon, storing it in the soil instead of releasing it into the air. Two Milwaukee area composting businesses share options for converting food waste into beneficial compost—no matter the size of one’s living space.

Although he owns a composting business, James Jutrzonka of Blue Ribbon Organics would ultimately like to see companies and consumers alike curb their food waste and scale back on scraps before composting even enters the equation.

“Put those ubiquitous leftovers or take-out doggie bags into clear containers rather than keeping them in takeout boxes,” he advises. “You’re way more likely to see them and eat them, rather than tossing them.” He also recommends serving small amounts of leftovers in an egg scramble or frittata, or atop some fresh greens as a hearty salad, for a delicious way to avoid food waste.

If one still ends up with food waste, composting is the best option to divert it from the landfill. Jutrzonka says that many areas have community drop-off sites for food scraps and yard waste. “More communities are also offering another bin, dedicated to compost, to your garbage and recycling situation,” he says. “If a program like this doesn’t exist near you, write to your local elected officials encouraging them to try it, too.”

Blue Ribbon Organics is the final location for most of Southeast Wisconsin’s food scraps that are part of municipal composting programs.

Gretchen Gibb owns Waste Not Compost, LLC, a composting service that collects food waste from residential clients and gives them to farmers to create nutrient-dense compost for farm usage. She services nearly 800 clients in the Milwaukee area, some of whom are apartment or condo dwellers that don’t have a yard to compost themselves. For $4 per week, clients receive clean, five-gallon buckets (with a tight lid to keep out creepy crawlies) to hold their food scraps.

“I take all food waste except meat and dairy, and some carbon materials such as pizza boxes, shredded paper, paper plates and napkins,” she says.

Blue Ribbon Organics offers compost for purchase to residential and commercial customers for adding nutrients to their gardens. Waste Not, LLC, does not sell compost but has created a composting co-op model; clients can receive free compost delivered to their door up to six times a year.

Sources: Blue Ribbon Organics, 1137 27th St., Caledonia, 262-497-8539,; Waste Not, LLC, 414-659-7667, email [email protected],