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 Greener Bay Compost!
Founded one year ago, in July 2021, Greener Bay Compost is the only curbside compost pickup service in the Green Bay, Wisconsin metropolitan area. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reported in 2021 that approximately half of what ends up in landfills could have been compostable, so Greener Bay Compost aims to divert that waste from the landfills and upcycle it into something infinitely more useful. We spoke to founder Cory Groshek about his organization, which you can learn more about in the interview below.
What led you to start your composting operation?
Groshek: Several years ago, I started by setting up a five-bin (pen) composting system in the backyard of my quarter-acre property in Green Bay, Wisconsin, with my wife, because we hate wasting food, or seeing it go to waste, and we also wanted to save money on raised bed soil at our local home improvement stores by making our own compost.
Before long, we were successfully composting not only our own food waste and household organics, but a lot of plain cardboard, clean wood ashes, coffee grounds, and egg shells we were picking up from a few local businesses as well. Soon thereafter, I came across the Instagram account of another composter named Sarah in New York State. She was running a company called Clearwater Creek Compost, where she was doing five gallon bucket swaps for customers who wanted her to do their composting for them as a service, and I thought to myself, “People would actually pay for this?” Needless to say, I was intrigued.
Long story short, Sarah inspired me to turn my backyard composting operation into my own Curbside Compost Pickup Service, which I named Greener Bay Compost.
Before I launched my business, though, I put out some “feelers” to my neighbors on Nextdoor in early July 2021, to get a sense for whether this kind of service would be something my local community would be interested in. And lo and behold, it was! I received over 30 very positive responses. Accordingly, I went ahead and purchased everything I needed to get started (buckets, lids, BioBags, stickers, etc.) and set up GBCompost.com.
Exactly one month after I’d put out the aforementioned “feelers,” we were dropping off buckets to our first sixteen subscribers, and a week later, swapping out full buckets in exchange for clean, new ones. Everything happened so fast, and we are now up to 127 subscribers, which is almost 800% growth in just over nine months!
Who do you serve, and how can people get in touch with you if they want to start composting?
Groshek: We currently serve residential customers in all of Green Bay, plus the surrounding communities of Allouez, Ashwaubenon, Bellevue, De Pere, Hobart, Howard, Ledgeview, and Suamico. So we serve, essentially, everywhere within 15 miles of Lambeau Field (where the Green Bay Packers play). For more information on us and our services, everyone can visit GBCompost.com, or contact us at www.GBCompost.com/Contact.
How much organic material do you typically take in on a weekly basis?
Groshek: As of late, we’ve been bringing in between 600 and 900 pounds of would-be organic waste from our subscribers each week, or roughly about one to one-and-a-half tons each month. This number, of course, is growing each month, as we take on more and more subscribers.
Please give us one fun fact about you or your business.
Groshek: We run an Annual Pumpkin Drive each year, after Halloween and through Thanksgiving, through which we collect large volumes of pumpkins, gourds, straw bales, corn stalks, etc. that would probably end up in the trash if it weren’t for us 🎃
Feel free to add any additional information about your operation as you see fit.
Groshek: We currently offer Every-Other-Week Compost Pickup Service (GBCompost.com/Services) to residential subscribers in the Green Bay metropolitan area only, but are considering expanding into serving select businesses, as well as into the Appleton/Fox Valley area of Wisconsin, which is only about 30-45 minutes from our home base. Also, we have been featured in our local news several times already (three times on television, once in a local lifestyle magazine, and, most recently, in Green Bay’s official newspaper, the Press Times), as everyone can see at www.GBCompost.com/Category/News.
Anything special going on that you would like for us to share?
Groshek: We just acquired a nearly-seven-acre property that we call The Farm in the Town of Lessor (Shawano County, Wisconsin), to help us expand and grow our business, and we are very excited about all the possibilities this presents for us. Additionally, we were recently name-dropped (in April 2022) before the Green Bay Common Council, by the Green Bay Sustainability Commission, as a potential partner for the City of Green Bay, as it works toward establishing a City-wide Food Waste Prevention Pilot Program by the year 2023. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to potentially expand our services into deeper into Green Bay with the City’s help!
If you would like to be featured in a future edition of Community Heroes, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.