As part of our Community Compost Law & Policy Project, ILSR hosted a webinar with The Sustainable Economies Law Center to provide community composters with an opportunity to share, discuss, and strategize around legal and policy issues confronting community composting. The webinar provided a short overview of the legal and policy trends we see impacting each stage of the composting process, including 1) organic waste generation, 2) hauling, 3) composting, and 4) distribution of compost. These issues include zoning, franchise agreements, insurance, permitting, and more. Check out the public recording below.
Institute for Local Self-Reliance
Brenda Platt is the co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. She has worked 31 years fighting trash burners and promoting waste reduction, recycling and composting, particularly recycling-based jobs. She currently directs ILSR’s Composting for Community project, which is advancing locally based composting in order to create jobs, enhance soils, sequester carbon, reduce waste, and build more resilient and healthy communities. She is the author of several groundbreaking reports, most recently Yes! In My Backyard: A Home Composting Guide for Local Government. Ms. Platt is a member of the US Composting Council and its Environmental and Legislative Affairs Committee. In 2017, the US Composting Council awarded Brenda its H. Clark Gregory Award for outstanding service to the composting industry through grassroots efforts.
Kourtnii is a community gardener and compost enthusiast, founded Common Compost in Oakland, Calif. as a way to realize the efficiency and benefits of composting with worms at an urban scale. Kourtnii’s idea for a compost cooperative won the Living the New Economy’s Hackathon in November 2014, from which she received a full scholarship to attend Uptima Business Bootcamp’s social entrepreneur accelerator program. Since completing the program in March 2016, she has launched a 3-year pilot project with support from local grants and the Oakland community. Kourtnii is also passionate about sustainable food systems, having been a waitress at numerous farm-to-fork restaurants and active volunteer for community gardening in both D.C. and San Francisco over the past decade. Kourtnii received a MA in International Politics from American University, and a BA in International Affairs from The George Washington University.
Institute for Local Self-Reliance
Virginia graduated from George Washington University in 2016 with a BA in Environmental Studies. Since starting work with ILSR in October of 2016, she has written about bike-powered food scrap collectors for BioCycle, completed case studies on innovative projects in Baltimore for inclusion in the Office of Sustainability’s Organics Recovery and Recycling Plan, and led research for BioCycle’s 2017 update of their Residential Food Waste Collection Access Study. She also coordinates the Community Composting Coalition, bringing together community composters across the country to discuss topics such as social justice and bike-powered hauling.
Inika Small Earth
San Diego, Calif.
Sarah founded Inika Small Earth after almost a decade working in corporate finance, public finance, and financial consulting. Inika’s mission is to transform waste into resources for the circular economy by reducing, repurposing, and rethinking waste. As part of Inika, Sarah launched Food2Soil, a social enterprise to build community capacity to divert organic waste, create jobs and grow soil. She has also consulted for San Diego county on implementing recycling plans and creating a strategic plan for waste reduction. She has a Master’s degree in Natural Resources from Virginia Tech’s Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability and an MBA from the University of Notre Dame.
Key City Compost
Key City Compost wants to get loud, be heard, and make positive changes to Frederick County’s solid waste management plan. For decades, the region has talked about compost, but nobody has put boots on the ground to make it happen. Key City’s mission is to be the authority on compost related issues and turn plans into action. Phil was inspired to found Key City Compost after attending COMPOST2017 in L.A. They have faced many road blocks this year while trying to build initial momentum. Phil started his career in compost with a love for biology, but is now mastering the art of business, leadership, economics, and local policy.
West Orange, N.J.
Java has worked in education for over twenty years in a variety of learning environments, subject areas, and age groups. He’s presented workshops and talks on small-scale composting strategies for conferences and small groups, for both children and adults. Since 2015, he has managed the compost system in Phillip’s Academy Charter School’s Outdoor Learning Center, which processes approximately 12,000 lbs. of food scraps a year. He is a certified composter in the state of New Jersey. He and his wife, Michelle, own Java’s Compost, a local start-up company providing backyard composting services to residences and schools in and around Essex county. Java holds a Bachelor of Arts from Amherst College with a major in Religion and a minor in African-American Studies. He has a Masters in Education from Hunter College.
Riker Danzig’s Environmental Law Group
Matthew A. Karmel is an attorney practicing in Riker Danzig’s Environmental Law Group. He earned his law degree, magna cum laude, from Fordham University School of Law, and earned his B.A., magna cum laude, in Mathematics and Economics from Rutgers University. His legal practice focuses on federal and New Jersey law involving site remediation, purchase and sale of brownfields, regulatory compliance, environmental litigation, and other areas of environmental law. He also is actively involved in initiatives encompassing sustainability, food waste and composting at the state and local level within New Jersey.
View and download slides:
Policy and Legal Obstacles to Community Composting — Kourtnii Brown, Common Compost
Compost Law & Policy Project: Survey Results — Virginia Streeter, Institute for Local Self-Reliance
Java’s Compost Presentation — Java Bradley, Java’s Compost
Relaxing New Jersey Regulation of Composting at a Community Garden — Matt Karmel, Riker Danzig’s Environmental Law Group