Welcome to BioBag’s Community Heroes series! Each month, we will highlight community heroes that are making a difference in their communities and working to make their local environments cleaner and healthier.
This month, we are taking a look at Mother Compost!
Founded in 2018, Mother Compost‘s goal is to make composting simple and easy for Philadelphia Main Line residents. After a month of testing her composting service with 10 friends, founder Gwenn Nolan officially opened Mother Compost and began building a wider composting community. In just a few short years, Mother Compost has now grown to servicing almost 500 subscribers.
We spoke to Gwenn Nolan to learn a little more about her organization.
What led you to start your composting operation?
Nolan: I was activated by the amount of food waste my family was creating and looked into composting as a solution to redirect our food waste. Unfortunately, as a busy mom of two with a full-time job and a third [child] on the way, I found I couldn’t keep up with the pile & was not having success turning my food scraps into black gold. I began to realize that if this was the only option available, most people would never get composting, and with the amount of waste we create in this country, composting is truly the baseline effort we need to begin tackling our trash problems.
So I set out to create a service that would help make composting simple & less gross so more people would join the composting movement. At Mother Compost, we go above and beyond for our subscribers so they can enjoy the good feels of re-directing organic waste & supporting a local business while also receiving great service. We clean containers after each collection, send pickup reminders, provide collection skip credits & the chance to register for 60 pounds of finished compost in the spring.
Who do you serve, and how can people get in touch with you if they want to start composting?
Nolan: We currently serve the suburbs of Philadelphia known as the Main Line [Bala Cynwyd, Wynnewood, Penn Wynne, Narberth, Ardmore, Havertown, Haverford, Bryn Mawr, Villanova, St. David’s, Wayne and Devon] for residential curbside composting. We also serve commercial businesses within this area as well as others outside this area close to our partner farm. People can find us on our website at mothercompost.com, on Instagram & Facebook @mothercompost and on YouTube at MotherCompost.
We also offer classes live or via Zoom on home composting and the benefits of composting as part of our waste management systems. As sustainability initiatives become more prevalent across the board, we are seeing an increased desire to learn more about ways to waste less. Composting is a great place to start and is also a fascinating process that a wide variety of people find interesting.
How much organic material do you typically take in on a weekly basis?
Nolan: As of today, we are averaging 5-6 tons per week so between 10,000 and 12,000 pounds.
Please give us one fun fact about you or your business.
Nolan: Fun fact about me is that I’m a notorious black thumb and only recently have a plant baby that’s over two years old. Most people assume composting passion equates to gardening prowess, but I am here to prove that is not the case. Unfortunately.
Fun fact about our company is that Mother Compost started as a side hustle, which meant I had to get collections done before my other job started. This led to some crazy antics in our early days and our first hire, Tiffany Kennedy, can confirm there were nights when she showed up for work at 9:30 pm and then got dropped off at her car near the farm around 2:00 am. Our first subscribers thought we were night ninjas since everything was completed before 8:00 in the morning.
Feel free to add any additional information about your operation as you see fit.
Nolan: We are a woman-owned & led organization and recently received our National Women’s Business Enterprise Certification from the WBENC. We’re proud to be strong ladies hustling in a sometimes messy business that often includes large trucks. That said, we are very grateful for the incredible men on our team who also show up for the mission daily. We’ve been really lucky with the people who have been called to join us.
If you would like to be featured in a future edition of Community Heroes, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.