Starting a Composting Company

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Composting is a form of recycling that helps minimize landfill use while offering a business opportunity. Many waste items become useful when turned into compost, improving the soil for growing vegetables and other crops. A composting business, small or large, helps the environment and provides an opportunity to make a profit. Turning waste into organic matter takes time and planning, but the benefits far outweigh the time needed to turn it into a business. Providing a service and offering a useful product play important roles in a composting business.

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Write a draft business plan as you determine your sources, methods, space requirements and abilities. Your available space and sources of raw waste used to make compost directly affects the volume of compost you produce. Some methods of composting involve a capital investment. Starting small and building your business over time lessens the risk and investment to get started. Contact the EPA for regulations and information regarding your area.

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Contact businesses that need to dispose of raw material that you can turn into compost. Estimate the volume you can use carefully and the time needed to turn it into a product to sell. The volume of waste reduces as much as 50 percent to 80 percent when turned into usable compost, called humus. Local farms offer a good source of manure and plant waste. Grocery stores and restaurants are possible resources. Consider providing a pick-up service for your composting business. Many businesses take part in “green” efforts. However, a short explanation of composting versus landfill use sometimes helps.

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Set up your preferred method and get the composting process started. Windrows, or rows of compostable material, need turning by hand or with a front-end loader. One method sets barrels of material on rollers operated by a power source or rolled by hand. Whichever method you choose, keep a rotation of starting new rows, barrels or another method and strive for a continuous source of finished compost.

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Purchase a business or vendor's license for tax purposes at your county courthouse before selling your finished product. Determine your cost and profit margin and market locally through friends, ads, farmer’s markets or any avenue available to you. Ensure your insurance coverage includes your enterprise and customers on the property.

Tips

  • Adapt your composting business and methods to the property you will be using.

Warnings

  • The Environmental Protection Agency has regulations; be sure you are in compliance.