Local residents now have another opportunity to help the environment as Annapolis Compost has branched out into Crofton.
Annapolis Compost picks up all food waste from homes and businesses once a week and turns it into compost, thus keeping food waste out of landfills.
“Food waste currently takes up 40% of landfills,” said Annapolis Compost owner, Karl Schrass. “Food waste in landfills creates methane and has no further benefit. We take food waste, compost it and return nutritious soil for gardens to our customers.”
Annapolis Compost started small two years ago, literally out of Schrass’ Prius and now serves five areas around Annapolis and will begin collections in Crofton on Thursday, May 23.
“We’ve heard a lot of interest in Crofton, so we decided to expand,” Schrass said.
Customers receive a black, two gallon box to place on the counter in their kitchens and up to two, five gallon buckets with screw-top lids to be placed outside. When the counter box is full, the food scraps are then placed in the buckets.
There are compostable bags in the counter box that keeps odors out and the screw-top buckets prevents an issue with pests. The five gallon buckets are then picked up from homes once a week and a clean bucket is left in its place.
“We take any and all food waste, including fruits, vegetables, egg shells, coffee grounds, animal bones, crab shells, fish, dairy and bacon grease,” Schrass said. “We also take soiled paper products such as pizza boxes.”
“We return 20-25 pounds or more of soil back to our customers two times a year,” Schrass said. “We’re closing the loop in households of customers as the food waste goes out of the kitchen and soil comes back for their gardens. Customers really look forward to getting it back.”
If a household does not want their soil, it is donated to ‘Grow Annapolis,’ a nonprofit community garden.
“We make it as easy and clean as possible,” Schrass said. “Many people want to compost but backyard composting can be difficult. We take all food waste, more than backyard bins.”
“On average, customers produce 10 pounds of food waste a week,” Schrass said. “Keeping food out of landfills mitigates climate change, reduces runoff, and the improved soil reduces water usage because it acts like a sponge,” Schrass said. “There are a lot of benefits [of composting] locally and even globally.”
Annapolis Compost takes food waste to Prince George’s County Organics Composting Facility. There the food waste is mixed with yard waste to create a more diverse, richer and more nutrient soil for plants. It takes only three months to create soil from compost at the facility.
“We currently drop off one ton of food waste a week,” Schrass said. “Hopefully next year we will do more than that.”
“We also offer our service to offices, cafes and coffee shops,” Schrass said. “We’re open to anyone else who would like to compost.”
Rutabaga, a juice bar and vegan restaurant, has just expanded to Crofton and continues to use Annapolis Compost after having success in their Annapolis location.
“We have used Annapolis Compost since they started,” said Rutabaga owner, Stacey Heywood. “We used to use pig farms but Annapolis compost uses higher heat so we can compost compostable plastic ware and green ware. Its easier than using pig farms because that required close monitoring.”
“(Annapolis Composting) makes something challenging really simple,” Heywood said. “I used their household service when I lived in Annapolis. The counter boxes keep the smell out. It’s as easy as taking the garbage out.”
Schrass and his wife, Anna Kramer, came up with the idea for Annapolis Compost after returning from living in Germany for five years.
“In Germany, recycling and compost is the norm,” Schrass said. “We got used to it. You notice how much waste you create. I feel really guilty throwing things away.”
As a Climate Adaptation and Resilience Manager at a local non-profit, Schrass has spent his entire career trying to mitigate climate change.
“We measure our carbon footprint as a business and currently have a negative carbon footprint, including our vehicles,” Schrass said.
It is Schrass’s dedication to the environment that won Annapolis Compost Anne Arundel County’s Green Business of the Year Award in 2018.
Annapolis Compost costs $29 a month with a two week free trial. There are no contracts to sign and customers can stop service at any time.
“We offer people the two week free trial to show people how clean and easy it is,” said Schrass. “Customers report that it just ‘feels good’ to compost food waste.”
If you’re in an area Annapolis Compost is not servicing, you can go to the website: www.annapoliscompost.com and fill out the form.
“We will try and see if it works for your area,” Schrass said. “We really want to help the environment.”
Crofton Farmers Market returns
The Crofton Farmer’s Market, the largest in Anne Arundel County, will return Wednesday for its fifth season. The outdoor market offers a wide array of freshly picked produce, meats, dairy, desserts, breads and specialty foods.
In addition, a fleet of food trucks arrive weekly for those looking for a warm meal or a sweet dessert. The market also often offers live entertainment, face painting and children’s activities. It is open from 4-7 p.m. and located in the parking lot of the Crofton Country Club, 1691 Crofton Pkwy, Crofton, MD 21114. For more information visit: www.croftonfarmersmarket.com.
Melissa Driscoll Krol can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Facebook at Around Crofton.