Composting to Reduce Waste

OH MI Compost

11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 12. Responsible Consumption and Production

Overview

OH MI Compost is a composting pickup service that started in the Old West End in Toledo, OH, and it is now slowly growing through the City of Toledo. Lindsay Akens, the owner of OH MI Compost and the only employee in her business, is constantly spreading awareness about plastics and organics going into the landfill by offering waste management services and connecting with the people around her. She picks up her clients’ waste weekly and turns their scraps into worm food.

Lindsay’s business contributes to two of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals: #11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities and #12 Responsible Consumption and Production.

Authors

Caitlin Yanney

Caitlin Yanney

serjen olmedo

serjen olmedo

Joshua Bundy

Joshua Bundy

School

The University of Toledo

The University of Toledo

Professor

Joe Cooper

Joe Cooper

Innovation

Lindsay, who is the owner of Ohio Michigan “OH MI” Compost, started this idea back in 2013 and became an LLC business this year. The business started serving the Old West End in Toledo, OH, and it has now expanded as more people want to compost their waste and do good for our Earth. The innovation is OH MI Compost itself, and this business helps those who want their waste to be composted and put back in the soil. She runs the business out of her office, which is located in her own house. Her daily routine consists of getting bags of waste from local businesses to cultivate it into compost.

OH MI Compost offers to pick up their clients waste, but not every type of waste is accepted. Their clients must separate their organic waste into a bucket for Lindsay to pick up. Once the organics are collected, Lindsay will take those buckets to her house, where she has a compost pile that she cultivates. She rotates this pile as needed or every month to cultivate it. While doing this, she adds straw and shredded paper in order to balance the organisms within the pile.

Composting to Reduce Waste

Lindsay; Owner of OH MI Compost, running a workshop about composting

Inspiration

When Lindsay was younger she didn’t envision creating an idea like this, but she had an interest in sustainability while in middle school and high school. While she was in college, Lindsay met another student named Troy who was interested in sustainable practices. They ended up living together in a house that was zoned for agricultural use. They saw this as an opportunity to start a composting business, as they both wanted to produce some of their own food and support local business. For example, they had chickens on their property and consumed their eggs, and they also had goats to help with their yard work. This mentality of self-sustainable living is what fueled the idea of creating OH MI Compost.

Lindsay says, “I would not do this if I was not this passionate about sustainable practices and playing whatever part in reducing waste.'' Her mission is to have more people wanting to do sustainable practices. She also says, “What comes along with that (reducing waste), hopefully, it’s an awareness in how you shop, how much single use plastic you use, what you are putting in your body and learning how that can be put back into the Earth.”

Overall impact

Lindsay’s business has allowed her to connect with other small businesses, and she currently picks up waste from several local businesses. These businesses produce more waste than the average household, and Lindsay’s business has influenced them to think about their business decisions. She states “when I pick up their compost, they’re not just thinking about how much they’re paying me to take away their food waste. They’re also thinking about what kind of cups and k-cup containers they’re giving away.” OH MI Compost has impacted the community in such a way that it is encouraging local businesses to do good for the environment.

Lindsay wants to impact the younger generation in the city of Toledo by helping them understand that the city does not have an efficient composting service. Therefore, people that are interested in sustainable practices have to figure it out on their own or spread the word until they hear about OH MI Compost. Lindsay says, “The way that this composting business grows is when people talk to each other and spread the word.”

There is also an indirect social impact on the community. As people sign up for OH MI Compost, they encourage their friends, neighbors, and family members to become more aware of their daily choices when it comes to throwing garbage away and appreciating the land we live on.

Business benefit

Lindsay earns profit for her business by offering four products: a new subscription, a one-month payment, a three-month payment, and a one-year subscription. This gives businesses several options to choose from, and all of her services are about $20 a month. The local businesses that Lindsay partners with are a part of the one-year subscription plan, as they use her services regularly.

She has also built positive relationships with her clients. She is able to regularly meet with a group of women where they discuss how to run a small business. They share their challenges and successes, and they try to plan events together. Their bond has created a community that has increased their efficiency. They help one another to be successful by sharing resources and ideas. She is also on Facebook and other social media sites to promote her business, but she also uses them to encourage others to compost and practice sustainable living.

Social and environmental benefit

Lindsay’s business has benefited the environment in numerous ways. Composting itself gives the organic materials a chance to be put back in the soil, and this increases the health of the soil. Composting adds nutrients and fosters the growth of beneficial insects and organisms, and it also holds onto moisture in the soil and encourages healthy growth.

Composting also reduces the need for chemical fertilizers. Compost provides the basic nutrients supplied by fertilizers, and it also provides minerals and nutrients that are not available in chemical fertilizers. Because Lindsay is reducing the need for fertilizers, she is reducing their environmental problems. One of their problems is water pollution, as runoff from fertilizers can reach into groundwater and contaminate our water supply.

Because Lindsay is able to pick up about 50 gallons of waste per week, she is able to keep more waste out of landfills. When people throw their vegetable and fruit scraps in the garbage, they don’t decay cleanly. They sit in layers of trash, and they produce methane gas as they decay. Methane causes air pollution, so Lindsay’s business is able to help in reducing air pollution and minimize the amount of waste that ends up in a landfill.

Interview

Lindsay Akens, Owner of OH MI Compost

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OH MI Compost

OH MI Compost

Toledo, Ohio, US

Business Website: https://ohmicompost.bigcartel.com

Year Founded: 2013

Number of Employees: 2 to 10

OH MI Compost is a weekly compost pickup service for Toledo and its surrounding areas. Their service turns daily food scraps into worm food, and it is currently run by the owner and only employee, Lindsay Akens.