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It’s amazing how the smallest things can have the biggest impact. The guys at Crown Town Compost get that, and they’ve made it easy for everyone in Charlotte to start composting.
Crown Town Compost is the brainchild of Kris Steele, Marcus Carson and David Balder, three young men who want to make Charlotte a better place to live and saw composting as a way to get our community moving in the right direction.
“In Mecklenburg County alone, we throw away enough food waste to fill up the Bank of America [Corporate Center], every year,” says Steele. And that is waste that can be easily composted and used to grow nutritious, healthy food.
You already know it doesn’t make much sense to throw biodegradable materials in the trash, but other than throwing your food waste in the backyard for the animals to enjoy, what are you supposed to do?
That’s where the guys at Crown Town Compost come in. They’ve made the composting process as simple as separating your recycling from your trash, and they handle the rest.
There are two main ways to compost with Crown Town: home pick-ups or at the Atherton Mill drop off. Home pick-ups are where the start-up vision really shines through. Crown Town Compost will pick up your weekly compost bucket, not by truck or car but via bike, using specially made trailers to haul away your compostable material. There is no additional carbon footprint, and the bikers become a positive addition to the neighborhood.
“We’re kind of like the modern day milk man — people see us riding along and they wave at us because they know who we are and they know what we’re doing,” says Steele.
Unless you live in Wilmore or Plaza Midwood, the two neighborhoods where Crown Town Compost currently offers pick-up service, your best bet will be the Community Compost Days at Atherton Mills. (Crown Town Compost is constantly expanding its service areas, so go to their website to see if pick-up service is available in your neighborhood.)
Every Saturday morning the Crown Town Compost team sets up at Atherton Mill from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and accepts compost drop-offs. You can register for a continuing subscription for $10 a month, which includes your five gallon reusable bucket that the guys will empty and clean for you. If you’re in a hurry, they’ll simply swap it out for a clean bucket and you can be on your way. If you don’t have that much to compost, you can bring your compostable materials in a bag and they’ll take care of you. All of the details on subscriptions and pricing are available here.
But why not just compost on your own? You could, but even the best horticulturalists are limited to the materials they contribute to their own personal compost pile. The Crown Town Compost group has figured out a way to scale composting to create real results. And by partnering with EarthFarms, a local composting farm in Dallas, NC, Crown Town Compost is now able to offer bags of compost for sale, compost created from the materials people just like you dropped off a few months ago.
“The support has been ridiculous,” says Steele. “Before it was a feel-good type of thing, but now it’s even better because we have a tangible product with the compost for people to see.”
I had the chance to watch some of the action at the Atherton Mill this past Saturday, and it was an inspiration. As person after person walked up and dropped off their buckets, it was obvious that Crown Town Compost is on to something big.
“I found out about it here at Atherton Mill, and I also saw a sign in my neighborhood. It’s awesome that they do this!” says Lindsey Millem, who has been composting with Crown Town for just over a month.
“I do it to do my part for the environment. The bucket is easy to use and this is a great place to have the drop off,” says Katie Walker, a Charlotte native and lawyer at Miller, Walker and Austin attorneys at law.
If you’ve always wanted to compost, but didn’t know where to start, just shoot the guys at Crown Town Compost an email and they will handle the rest.
“We asked ourselves what we could do to make Charlotte a better place to live and composting was the perfect place to start,” says Steele. “The compost makes for healthier soil, which leads to growing more nutritious food, which leads to healthier people and healthier communities.”