Back yards are no longer required for Oklahoma City residents to compost.
Fertile Ground Cooperative, a local business dedicated to urban green efforts, offers composting services to those who live in apartments or other small spaces.
Composting is taking organic materials like food scraps and lawn clippings and helping them decompose. The product is used as fertilizer for gardens and flower beds.
As much as 25 percent of waste can be composted, according to an information sheet from the city’s utility service center. Composting diverts waste from landfills.
Composting benefits aren’t only environmental, said founder Terry Craighead.
“I just don’t like wasting,” he said. “When you take food scraps to the landfill, you’re ... sending valuable nutrients to do nothing.”
Because the city has to pay for waste brought to landfills, composting also offers economic benefits.
Fertile Ground works on a subscription basis.
Customers go to www.fertilegroundokc.com and fill out a request form. During a subsequent consultation, customers can opt into a pick-up service and a drop-off service.
Pick-up subscribers will have a 5-gallon bucket delivered to their home. The bucket has a screw-on lid with a carbon filter. This keeps the “bad smell” in, but allows air to flow into the container.
Every Wednesday, workers will come to the house, pick up the bucket and replace it with a clean one.
This service costs $28 per month for everyone living within the company’s coverage area. Outside of that area, there is an extra charge of $2 per mile per month. More details are available through the company.
The other option is a drop-off service. These customers get the same buckets. Instead of having them picked up, they take it to a site in town off Western. Those customers get a clean bucket for the next week, and pay $15 per month.
The scraps and clippings are taken to various locations throughout the city, including vacant lots and back yards. Because the organization is relatively new, it doesn’t have a central facility yet.
Both services repay customers with finished compost. Four full buckets of scraps earn one full bucket of finished compost.
If subscribers don’t have a garden or flower bed they wish to treat with compost, they can opt out of receiving compost. If they opt out, their compost is donated to Commonwealth Urban Farms, a local urban gardening organization.
Although urban residents some find composting important, many don’t take part.
“People just don’t have time or space,” Craighead said.
The business also offers gardening consultation and construction services, permaculture design, and assists in Zero Waste events.