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The Carter’s Compost Promise

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Commit to being a Compost Champion!

The Carter’s Compost Promise is a grass-roots initiative designed to create awareness about the awesomeness of small-scale/backyard/neighborhood composting and to increase TC’s composting rate.

Composting is easy. Really. It’s also, in our opinion, the most environmentally friendly form of recycling there is. We hope that by taking the Promise you’ll give it a try or get back in the groove if its been awhile.

Here’s How It Works:

1. Raise your right hand and repeat these words:

“I, [your name], promise to be awesome and to try my best to compost my kitchen scraps. I will harness the power of the pile to reduce my waste, grow great garden soil and make Traverse City greener than ever. I will be a Compost Champion and inspire my neighbors to be one, too. Yay, Compost!

2. Complete this form:

3. Post this blurb to FB/Twitter/Instagram using hashtag #CompostTC:

“I just took The Carter’s Compost Promise. I’ve committed to being a Compost Champion and will now be composting my kitchen scraps like a rock star.”

4. Be a Compost Champion by recycling your household kitchen scraps. You don’t have to be 100% awesome. Just try your best.

5. Share your victories/successes/problems/failures/discoveries on our FB page:

6. Give yourself a High Five for being awesome and helping to Green our TC.

Not sure how to compost your kitchen scraps? The EPA’s website is a good place to start. Our GT County’s RecycleSmart site is also great.

You can sign up for bike-powered pick-ups HERE.

Or if you’re already recycling your kitchen scraps at home, consider sharing your pile with your neighborhood bucket slinger so that we can add you to our map HERE.

Let’s Compost On! together and make TC the most compost-errific in Michigan The Universe.

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The One-Week-To-Go “Big Boy (or Girl!)” Trailer Kickstarter Stretch Goal


Our Kickstarter Project is going awesome. We’ve been truly humbled by the amount of support by backers from all across the US (and Canada/Europe too). It’s not over yet though. We’re Dreaming Big!

Behind every Compost Boy (or Girl!) is a Big Person. Usually an awesome Big Person like mom or dad or a friend. These Big People sometimes help with the heavy lifting that comes with bike-powered, community composting.

Pile turning.
Bike hauling.
Bucket lifting.

We may be youth-driven but these Big People are an important part of our bucket slinging operation.

In collaboration with our friends from Gainesville Compost and Kanner Karts, we are setting a stretch goal in our final 7 days to help fund a “Big Boy (or Girl!)” cargo trailer. It will be built to spec in Florida. With a hauling capacity of 350 pounds, this bike trailer is the real deal. It will allow us to scale up our Community Sustained Compost Project to help more of our neighbors reduce their waste by making composting super easy for them.

This Stretch Goal aims to raise another $1200 to cover the cost of the trailer and shipping. We’re almost half way there already so with a little more support we can make this happen.

“With the power of compost (and a Big Boy (or Girl!) Trailer), anything is possible.”

You can back us HERE.

Thank you and Compost On!

The C’sC Team

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Bike-Powered Community Composting : A Kickstarter Project

We believe a community that composts together, grows together.

We also believe in the power of the bicycle. We have proven that bike-powered community composting can work in Traverse City. By using pedal power, we are greening our neighborhood, reducing waste, saving landfill space, and growing amazing garden soil.

Our Kickstarter Project will help us invest in two more bike cargo trailers. These trailers will go to other kids in TC who are slinging buckets in their own neighborhoods. The paperboy disappeared years ago but being a Compost Boy (or Girl!) is a great job for kids today.

Our backers will also be funding the most awesome compost T-shirt in Traverse City history. It has been designed locally by the creative geniuses at Tee See Tee and looks awesome. The T-shirt will be part of our “Traverse City Dirt” campaign which is focused on raising awareness about the awesomeness of growing TC food with TC compost made from TC kitchen scraps.

You can back us here:

Traverse City is an awesome town. We love our water, our local food and our local farmers. We are a foodie town but hopefully, real soon, we’ll be a compost town too. There’s a lot of value in those banana peels and apple cores and, as you know, you can’t grow awesome veggies without awesome soil.

So let’s be Compost Champions together and make it happen, OK?

Like my friend Gary said, “With the power of compost, anything is possible”.

You can support our KS Project at 6 different levels:

1. Worm Wrangler Level ($10)

A C’sC decal for your bicycle, bike helmet or gasp!….your fossil fueled transport pod. Banana peels rock! +
Hand-written Thank You note +
High Five from Carter

2. Bucket Slinger Level ($25)

A C’sC decal for your bicycle, bike helmet or gasp!….your fossil fueled transport pod. Banana peels rock! +
Hand-written Thank You note +
High Five from Carter +
Your name added to “Our Donors” page

3. Dirt Screener Level ($50)

Hand-written Thank You note from Carter +
Your name added to “Our Donors” page +
Your own “Traverse City Dirt” T-shirt


4. Pile Builder Level ($100)

Your name added to “Our Donors” page +
Your own “Traverse City Dirt” Tshirt +
Your choice of either a C’sC counter-top compost pail or a 5-gallon bucket of our amazing locally grown neighborhood compost.

5. Pitchfork Power Level ($250) [Corporate Sponsorship]

Your name/business logo included in the quarterly Update From The Pile newsletter +
Your name/business logo addedOur Sponsors” page +
Your business logo sticker on our new bike trailer +
Your own “Traverse City Dirt” T-shirt

6. Compost Champion Level ($500) [Corporate Sponsorship]

Your name/business logo included in the quarterly Update From The Pile newsletter +
Your name/business logo added to “Our Sponsors” page +
Your business logo sticker on our new bike trailer +
Your business logo sticker on 3 of our compost buckets +
Your own awesome “Traverse City Dirt” T-shirt

Thank for your support and helping us make bike-powered, youth-driven, community composting the new normal in Traverse City.

Posted in bike-powered, community, compost

The Story Of Change + Bike-Powered Community Composting

We love The Story of Change. We love everything about it. Flexing our citizens muscle, aiming high, working together and acting boldly.

Big Idea + Teamwork + Action = Real Change

The video got us thinking about Traverse City’s Household Kitchen Scrap Composting Rate and our Community Sustained Compost Project.

We scribbled down this equation:

Bike-Powered Community Composting +
The Awesome People of Traverse City +
Harnessing The Power of the Bicycle To Transport Neighborhood Kitchen Scraps (and other resources*) to a Network of TC Drop-Sites** =

A Greener, Stronger and More Connected Traverse City Which Produces Less Waste, Saves Landfill Space And Grows Lots Of Awesome Garden Soil.

* Think bagged leaves, straw bales, palettes for building compost bins, worms, veggie plants, dirt screeners, wheelbarrows etc.

** Drop-Sites could include our “Sharing” Piles, Community Gardens, Schools, Churches, Neigborhood Compost Stations etc.

We believe that a community that composts together, stays together.

We also believe in the power of the bicycle.

Let’s put the two together and do something awesome, TC.

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Carter’s College of Compostology : What to Feed your Worms


Worms will eat almost anything. But, like you and I, they have foods that they love and foods that they would rather not. Here’s a list of some of me and my worm’s faves and not-so-faves:

Foods I Really Love:

Veggie Pizza
Pad Thai
Bean and Cheese Burritos
Grilled Cheese Sammiches

Foods My Worms Really Love:

Banana Peels
Watermelon Rinds
Egg Shells
Cantaloupe Rinds

Foods That I Sort of Like:

My Dad’s Beans & Rice
Butternut Squash

Food That My Worms Sort of Like:

Coffee Grounds
Tea Bags
Vegetables Scraps (carrot tops etc)
Fruits Scraps (apple cores etc)

Foods That I’m Not a Big Fan Of:

Green bean casserole
Steamed spinach

Foods That My Worms Aren’t Big Fans Of:

Citrus Peels

Worm Bin No-No’s:

Bones (stinky)
Meat (stinky)
Dairy products (stinky too)
Oils (hard for their skin to breathe)
Salty foods (dries their skin out)
Grass Clippings (makes the bin heat up too much)
Inorganic products (duh!)

Pro Tips:

1.Cut food up into smaller chunks. This decreases the time it will take for the worms to eat their food.

2.Feed your worms a diverse diet and always feed in moderation. Read: Mix it up and Don’t Overfeed them!

3. Worms love to eat tomatoes, but they can’t process the seeds.

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The Ladies of the Washington Street Hennery


Meet the Ladies of the Washington Street Hennery.

Sunny the Araucana. Georgia the Barred Rock. Astro the Australorp. And Jenny the Silver-laced Wyandotte.

We got them as one-day old chicks and they’re now almost 4 years old. Pretty much grandmas!

My chickens are a super important part of the C’sC operation. Here’s how they help:

1. They handle the kitchen scraps by eating leftover veggies, dairy, and grains.

2. They work hard in the Carter’s Compost Urban Farm by eating bad bugs and cultivating the soil with their scratching.

3. Their poop is an part of our compost recipe. Really!

4. They give me nutritious and delicious eggs so that I have lots of energy to bike Traverse City around and pick-up the buckets.

Our hens rock! Carter’s Compost would be way less awesome without them. Thanks, girls!

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Most Awesome Cycling Jersey in Compost History!

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Like banana peels? Think green spandex is rad? Want to support bike-powered neighborhood bucket slinging? You’re in luck!

We’re now taking orders for the most awesome jersey (custom super-“green” C’sC bottoms also available) in compost history.


$55 (Jersey)
+ $5 (Shipping)
+ $15 (donation to support Carter’s Compost)
= $75

Here’s How It Works:

1. Choose your size and cut (Race or Club). Details HERE.

Bottoms also available:

See different options of bibs, knickers, shorts here: Choose your pad type.

Cost of bottoms + $5 + $15 = Total

2. Email your pre-order to us at

3. Once 10 pieces are pre-ordered to reach the minimum, we’ll put the order in.

4. Send your payment to:

Carter’s Compost
841 Washington St.
Traverse City, MI, 49686

Checks made payable to: Carter’s Compost

PayPal also available with a $5 service fee.

5. We’ll ship (worldwide if needed) or drop-off your gear if local. Expect at least 6-8 weeks from the time the order is placed.

6. Wear your C’sC jersey with pride and be the envy of your riding buddies. Give yourself pat on the back for being so awesome and supporting bike-powered neighborhood bucket slinging.

Back of Jersey:

Raglan Jersey



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Carter’s Compost : Oryana Community Partner


We love our Co-Op. Oryana is one of TC’s most awesome places. Top 5 for sure.

They sponsor bike-powered neighborhood bucket slinging, host Compost Fiestas and celebrate dirt. They build legit Community Compost Stations, grow native plants and perennials in their commemorative garden and are true Compost Champions.

They support bike friendly events like TART’s SmartCommute, Norte! TC‘s Winter Bike To Work (or School!) Day and our Tour de Pile last spring.

They cook yummy food in their cafe, make fantastic tofu, carry healthy snacks and local fruits/veggies, give you a discount if you ride your bike, and accept BayBucks. They even let you have a free piece of fruit when you’re shopping with your mum!

So we are proud to officially be an Oryana Community Partner.

This entitles all fellow Oryana members to one free month of bike-powered kitchen scrap pick-ups per year.

It isn’t a lot but we’re happy to give back as a small Thank You to our Co-Op.

Keep Awesome and Compost On!, Oryana.

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Traverse City’s Household Kitchen Scrap Composting Rate


Thanks to everyone (N = 648!…how awesome is that?!?) for taking my survey and helping me with my 4th grade science fair project. I got an A+!

Here’s the information that I had up on my Project Board:

What is Traverse City’s household kitchen scrap composting rate?

Due to my experience as a Compost Boy, I predict that Traverse City’s household kitchen scrap composting rate will be 30%.

30-40% of household waste in the U.S. is compostable. Food waste makes up 21% of what goes into landfills for a total of 36,000,000 tons every year. The total recovery of food waste is only 1.6% but there are cities that are very compost friendly like Madison, WI. Their household composting rate is 35%.

I designed a scientific online survey on It had 22 questions about composting, gardening and demographics. I researched other municipal composting surveys including one from Madison, WI. I shared my survey via email, social media, my Carter’s Compost website, and through Grand Traverse County’s Recycle Smart newsletter. I sent a test survey to several organizations including GT County’s Resource Recovery department who gave me feedback on my survey questions. The survey was open for one month. Even though I only measured Traverse City’s rate, I allowed all Grand Traverse residents to take part so I could establish data for future studies.

N = 305 (TC residents only)
“YES, I’ve composted my kitchen scraps in the past year” 72%
“NO, I haven’t composted my kitchen scraps in the past year” 28%
5.55% Margin of Error at 95% Confidence Interval

Backyard Pile 53%
Plastic Commercially Made Bin 28%
Pick-up Service 25%
Drop-off at Community Pile/Share with Neighbor 18%
Worm Bin/Vermicomposting 9%

“Reduce my waste” 84%
“Nourish my plants naturally” 65%
“Contribute to my ecosystem at home by being responsible for the entire cycle of my food” 61%
“Save landfill space” 60%
“Cut down on greenhouse gas emissions (compostable items in landfills emit methane)” 32%
“Teach your kids that their waste is a resource” 29%
“Reduce groundwater pollution (toxins leaching from landfills into the environment)” 22%
“Save money on fertilizer for your garden” 19%

“I don’t know how” 43%
“I don’t have enough space” 39%
“I’m afraid of attracting pests/critters” 30%
“I’m too busy. I don’t have enough time” 28%
“It’s too icky and it smells” 17%

Veggie Scrap 81%
Meat and Dairy scraps 17%

64% of TC composters have a garden
87% of these gardeners have a garden less than 500 sq feet
77% buy compost
94% make their own compost

40 to 59 years old
Lives in a single family home
Has an advanced college degree
Earns 50,000 to 75,000 per year
Prepares more than 14 meals at home/week

Although the data set is large with 305 respondents from Traverse City allowing me to have a low margin of error and high confidence interval, my sample was not random. The survey was shared online with my Carter’s Compost members, friends, supporters and sponsors . I was unable to get outside of my circle of friends. Apparently, with a 72% rate, all of my Traverse City friends are composters. This is a serious weakness of my survey because the data is skewed. Maybe if I randomly chose names from the phone book or stood outside the library, that would have provided more accurate results.

I guessed that we would have a higher than average household composting rate because Traverse City is a very environmentally friendly city and there is a lot of demand for my kitchen scrap pick-up service. I predicted 30% but my survey found the rate to be 72%. Due to that fact my sample was not random, I think 72% is too high. Based on these results, I also now think that 30% is probably too low. Traverse City is very compost friendly!

Bar Graphs for all questions can be found here:

Full Results from all Grand Traverse Respondents here:

What do you think TC’s actually household kitchen scrap composting rate is?

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2013 Take It Back “Recycler Of The Year”


We’re stoked to be Grand Traverse County’s Resource Recovery Council’s 2013 Take It Back “Recycler Of the Year“. We scored a ginormous plaque and got to meet RecycleSmart‘s staff as well as some of our county commissioners. Mum brought muffins. A few of our friends, sponsors, and members came. We even got interviewed on TV! It was an awesome night.

We think we had a pretty good 2013 but we never dreamed of this. As Recycler of the Year, we join some pretty awesome company. Check out past RotY recipients:

2008 Goodwill Industries
2009 The Medicine Shoppe and The Prescription Shop
2010 All Take It Back registered businesses were recognized
2011 Michigan Green Consortium
2012 American Waste

We may be called “Carter’s Compost” but really, we are “Traverse City’s Compost”. Since the get-go in 2012, we have had nothing but amazing support from our community.

Some Thank Yous are in store:

Thank You to our neighbors for choosing to be Compost Champions. Without them taking the time to fill the buckets with their kitchen scraps, there’d be no Carter’s Compost.

Thank You to my sponsors for their financial backing helping us invest in a new bike and trailer.

Thank You to all of our Pile Sharers for helping us find space for the scraps.

Thank you to Oryana for building Traverse City’s first Community Compost Station.

Thank You to our volunteers for helping to screen the compost, wrangle worms and harvest leaves.

Thank You to our fellow Compost kids: Jack & Izzy and Max.

Thank You to the GT County Resource Recovery Council for the honor.

And Thank You, Traverse City. You’re a great town. Really. Let’s continue to Compost On! together and make bike-powered neighborhood bucket slinging the new normal in TC.