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Community Hero: No Waste Compost

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 No Waste Compost!

Founders Jake Wollman and Cameron Scott started No Waste Compost with the simple idea that nothing should go to waste and the goal of creating an affordable and responsible composting service for all of Vermont. Through No Waste Compost, they developed a residential program to help Vermont residents properly dispose of food scraps and organic materials that would have otherwise found their way to a landfill. Their service became even more important to their community in July 2020, when Vermont’s Act 148 began requiring all Vermont residents to stop sending food scraps to the landfills.

We spoke to General Manager, Jericho King to learn a little more about this organization.

What led you to start your composting operation?

King: We saw a need in our local community. Living in the small city of Burlington, many residents do not have the space to compost their waste at home as well as many other barriers. We set out to help all residents have access to affordable compost pickups and the demand quickly grew to nearby towns.

Who do you serve, and how can people get in touch with you if they want to start composting?

King: We serve the residents and small businesses of Chittenden County, VT. We offer daily 8 am-5 pm customer phone support Monday through Friday and active email support for customer assistance. You can find our contact information and answers to many questions through our website at nowastecompost.com.

How much organic material do you typically take in on a weekly basis?

King: We divert more than 17,000 lbs of waste each week from the landfill and compost it. This year, we estimate that we have diverted 770,000 lbs of organic material away from local and regional landfills.

Please give us one fun fact about you or your business.

King: By avoiding expensive hydraulic equipment, we are able to provide the lowest cost for compost pickups, but this means our employees do a lot of heavy lifting, and the work gets messy. Our drivers lift more than 3,000 lbs by hand each day in order to provide our services.

Feel free to add any additional information about your operation as you see fit.

King: We are currently the only low-profit hauler in our service area. This legal structure (L3C) ensures the community’s needs come first.

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If you would like to be featured in a future edition of Community Heroes, please email us at marketing@biobagusa.com.


Community Hero: Mother Compost

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.

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If you would like to be featured in a future edition of Community Heroes, please email us at marketing@biobagusa.com.


Community Hero: Pet Poo Skiddoo

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 Pet Poo Skiddoo Pet Waste Removal!

Owned and operated in Asheville, North Carolina, Pet Poo Skiddoo is a pet waste removal company that began in Spring 2015. They are a proud member of APAWS, The Association of Professional Animal Waste Specialists and provide both residential and commercial pet waste clean-up services. You can check out a short introductory video to Pet Poo Skiddoo here.

We spoke to owner and founder Stephanie Chow to learn a little more about her organization.

What led you to start your composting operation?

Chow: I was actually a web designer prior to Pet Poo Skiddoo, in a great paying career, but I honestly could not stand working in a cubicle and staring at a computer screen all day. One day, I turned on my webcam to film myself while I worked…and I looked miserable! It was then I knew I needed to quit and start something new. Of course, the issue was my only skills were in computers, and I wanted to get as far away from computers as I could.  

I’ve always loved animals and had pets throughout my life, so I started advertising pet sitting and dog walking services. That led to offering yard scooping services. Eventually, the yard scooping got so popular that I stopped pet sitting and dog walking altogether and just focused on that, but only a few months into my new yard scooping venture, I started seeing how much waste I was bringing to the landfill. Bags and bags of it every week, and it weighed a lot. I couldn’t imagine growing my business just to throw out more and more waste. I started doing some research and discovered that composting could be the answer to my problems, but figuring out how to do it was another story.

Unlike food waste composting that’s been practiced for decades – and there are plenty of resources on the subject – dog waste composting had no resources whatsoever, and, in fact, most websites discouraged even attempting it.  With the small amount of waste that I was collecting, I had a finite amount of attempts that I could perform throughout a year, and it would actually take me two years to finally nail down a process that would give me consistent results – and later, through testing, would prove to be rich in nutrients and safe to use as a fertilizer. 

Fast forward to now, and I have 6 acres of land I purchased for my composting site, I have two full-time employees, and I am composting 4,000 pounds of both dog and cat waste per month.

Who do you serve, and how can people get in touch with you if they want to start composting?

Chow: We service Asheville, NC and surrounding towns (Arden, Black Mountain, Candler, Fairview, Fletcher, Hendersonville, Swannanoa, Weaverville). Sign up at our website.

How much organic material do you typically take in on a weekly basis?

Chow: We take in about 1,000 pounds of pet waste per week.

Please give us one fun fact about you or your business.

Chow: Probably the best part of the job is spending time with all the dogs when we’re out scooping yards. We’re a familiar face to them, and often they will bring us balls and sticks to throw as we’re walking up and down the lawn.

Feel free to add any additional information about your operation as you see fit.

Curtis: Although I started the business with yard scooping, it really grew once I was able to start composting the waste. We now offer bin pickups for those with cats or those who are willing to scoop their own yards and want their pet’s waste composted. We also expanded to commercial properties such as apartments and HOAs where we provide all the pet waste stations with compostable dog waste bags – then we collect, sort, and compost everything that is collected.

We’re still relatively small and everything is still done by hand, mixed with pitchfork with no help from machines. We actually don’t even have electricity at our composting site, so all the light switches in our sheds are powered by solar panels. There are small fans we’ve placed inside the composters that are solar powered, and even the hose we use to spray our collected rain water is hooked up to a water pump powered by solar (my husband, who is a IT engineer, was able to wire that all up).

We also try to be eco in all forms of our business. All our computers are made from used IBC totes (with kits purchased from Green Mountain Technologies), all our bins that we give to our clients for bin pickup service are actually used Tidy Cat Litter containers (we remove the old labeling and place on our own Pet Poo Skiddoo labels), and all the buckets that we package our Critter Dirt (our fertilizer) in are taken from various restaurants around town who used them for storing pickles.

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If you would like to be featured in a future edition of Community Heroes, please email us at marketing@biobagusa.com.


Community Hero: WyoFarm Composting

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 WyoFarm Composting!

Based in Thayne, Wyoming, WyoFarm Composting is a collection service that services homes, businesses, and events in the area. We spoke to Curtis Haderlie of WyoFarm Composting to learn a little more about their organization.

What led you to start your composting operation?

Curtis: We are farmers and were approached to see if we would like take food scraps for our hogs. After doing this for a few years, we decided we could expand upon this and start charging to take business’s and individuals’ food scraps for composting.

Who do you serve, and how can people get in touch with you if they want to start composting?

Curtis: We serve both businesses and individuals. People can check out our website at wyocompost.com, send an email to chaderlie@wyocompost.com or give us a call at 307-883-7070.

How much organic material do you typically take in on a weekly basis?

Curtis: 3-5 tons per week.

Please give us one fun fact about you or your business.

Curtis: Early in our food scrap pick-up experience, we fed a bunch of bananas to our small herd of dairy cows. People started complaining about the taste of the milk. When I tried it, the taste was awful! We haven’t fed bananas or any other food scraps to our dairy cows since.

Feel free to add any additional information about your operation as you see fit.

Curtis: The collection of food scraps for composting fits into our sustainable farm model. We are trying to limit chemical fertilizer inputs, and having our own source of high-quality compost gives us a great soil amendment without the drawbacks and expense of chemical fertilizers. It also increases the efficiency of our delivery routes. We deliver food to our customers and bring food scraps back to the farm.

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If you would like to be featured in a future edition of Community Heroes, please email us at marketing@biobagusa.com.


Community Hero: CERO Cooperative, Inc.

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 CERO Cooperative, Inc.!

Founded in 2012, CERO Cooperative, Inc. is a commercial composting company based out of Dorchester, Massachusetts, built on the mission to improve communities while doing right by the environment. CERO provides food waste pickup and diversion services for clients in the metro Boston area and transports organic waste to local farms where it’s composted into rich soil products used to support the local agricultural economy. Their goals are to keep food waste out of landfills, save money for their clients, and provide good green jobs for Boston’s communities.

We spoke to General Manager Lor Holmes and Sales Team Leader Casey Lynch to learn a little more about their organization.

What led you to start your composting operation?

CERO: CERO was founded by African American and Latinx entrepreneurs rooted in the environmental justice communities of Dorchester and Roxbury, MA. Determined to provide an alternative to unacceptable wages and working conditions, CERO’s founders joined forces with the MassCOSH Immigrant Workers Center and the Boston Workers Alliance to create a worker-owned zero waste enterprise in 2013.

Who do you serve, and how can people get in touch with you if they want to start composting?

CERO: CERO is a commercial composting cooperative that serves businesses in Greater Boston looking to recycle their organic waste for its highest and best use. We collect businesses’ food waste and haul it to local, family-owned farms, where it is turned into nutrient-rich compost soil. We then deliver this finished soil to growers throughout Greater Boston, creating a closed loop in which yesterday’s waste works to grow tomorrow’s food.

CERO’s organic waste recycling customers include universities, healthcare facilities, food processors, caterers, restaurants, breweries, indoor growers and more. Feel free to contact us here to learn more about how we can make your business great at composting!

How much organic material do you typically take in on a weekly basis?

CERO: CERO typically harvests and transports nearly 100 tons of food waste to farms in Greater Boston on a weekly basis.

Please give us one fun fact about you or your business.

CERO: CERO is very proud to be a worker-owned cooperative! A worker-owned cooperative differs from a traditional business in that all workers have the potential to become owners of the business after a cooperative education process.

Additionally, CERO is proud to adhere to the seven cooperative principles, participate in democratic decision making, and pay all of our employees a living wage. When you choose to work with CERO, you choose not only to regenerate our earth, but also to provide dignified work to members of our Greater Boston community.

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If you would like to be featured in a future edition of Community Heroes, please email us at marketing@biobagusa.com.


Community Hero: Compost Crew

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 Compost Crew

Compost Crew is a locally-owned, food scrap recycling business with the objective of rescuing unwanted food scraps from the landfill to retain valuable nutrients by converting the food scraps into a rich soil amendment, otherwise known as compost.  Founded in 2011 in Montgomery County, Maryland, they wish to eliminate food waste and revitalize the earth’s soil through clean and convenient solutions available to everyone.

Since its inception, the company has been able to offer their services to thousands of homes, businesses, communities, and governments throughout Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Throughout this time, they have composted tens of millions of pounds of organic material. As a result, Compost Crew was named the Best Composting Service in Washington, D.C. for 2021 by Treehugger.com.

Compost Crew believes Earth’s systems are regenerative by design and envisions a world where all organic matter is recycled, as nature intended, rather than being lost or wasted.

Services are available to residential customers, businesses and organizations, local governments, schools, and events. Anyone interested in any of Compost Crew’s services can contact them at info@compostcrew.com or register for residential service on their website

If you would like to be featured in a future edition of Community Heroes, please email us at marketing@biobagusa.com.


Community Hero: Blue Earth Compost

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 Blue Earth Compost!

Founded in 2013, Blue Earth Compost serves homeowners and businesses in the Greater Hartford region and throughout most of Connecticut, as well as parts of southern Massachusetts. Blue Earth is inspired by the idea that people want to do the right thing by the planet and divert food scraps from landfills and incinerators, but they need better systems and processes in place to accomplish this goal. As such, Blue Earth provides both residential and commercial services, working with households and businesses that lack the space, resources, or infrastructure to compost themselves. 

We spoke to Blue Earth Compost’s Owner & Director of Operations Alex Williams, as well as Sam from Blue Earth’s Daily Operations team, to learn a little more about their organization.

What led you to start your composting operation?

Alex Williams: Blue Earth was started in the fall of 2013 by a woman named Susannah Castle. I returned from college around that time and began interning with her. About six months after she started the business, in the spring of 2014, she had to relocate, and it sort of fell into my lap. My parents and I bought the business that April, and the rest is history. I originally became associated with composting through some internships in college. I caught the composting bug doing some nonprofit work down in Queens and just kind of never looked back. 

Who do you serve, and how can people get in touch with you if they want to start composting?

Alex: Blue Earth is a residential, commercial, and event food scrap collection service. Our service really runs the gamut. We can collect commercially from anyone from a small corner cafe, all the way up to a grocery store or a multi-national corporate headquarters. We’re able to service the smallest to the biggest customers, commercially.

Residentially, we service households and apartment buildings. Again, we really cover the whole spectrum. The best way to get in touch with us, for sure, residentially, is through out website, blueearthcompost.com. We have a convenient sign-up form right there that you can input all of your information, and we’ll get you going. Commercially, give us a call at (860) 266-7346 or shoot us an email at info@blueearthcompost.com. We’re always available to set up a meeting and get you going.

How much organic material do you typically take in on a weekly basis?

Alex: Sam probably knows this better than me. Covid definitely lowered our volumes, especially commercially.
Sam: We compost anywhere between 25 and about 50 tons per week, currently, and we look to expand that.

Please give us one fun fact about you or your business.

Alex: We know the Governor of Connecticut quite well. Ned Lamont has been to our space a couple times. We unveiled our food scrap collection dump truck, the first of its kind in the state, right outside the state capitol in Hartford. We’ve got a good relationship with the elected officials here in the state.

Is there any additional information about your operation that you’d like to share?

Sam: We’re always so excited to work with other organizations and manufacturers of compost-related products to help us advance our mission and help expand composting. BioBag has been such a big player in our business ever since the beginning. The compostable bags help make our service for residential customers nice and easy and clean, and without those products, it would be very difficult to make more people able to do this. 

If you would like to be featured in a future edition of Community Heroes, please email us at marketing@biobagusa.com.


Community Hero: Garbage to Garden

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 Garbage to Garden!

Founded in 2012 and based in Portland, Maine, Garbage to Garden is a curbside compost service that offers urban residents, schools and commercial businesses a convenient way to recycle food scraps. Today, Garbage to Garden is the most successful market-based curbside composting company in the Northeast, servicing over 8,000 households, schools, restaurants, businesses, and events throughout Maine and Massachusetts.

We spoke to Phoebe Lyttle from Garbage to Garden to learn a little more about the organization.

What led you to start your composting operation?

Lyttle: In August of 2012, GtG Founder Tyler Frank was living in a 2nd story apartment in Portland, ME, and like most urban dwellers, didn’t have space available for a compost pile. Tyler and his roommates pondered why they couldn’t just put compost out on the curb like trash and recycling, and in the moment between wondering and wishing, Garbage to Garden took root. Days later, Frank set up a table during a First Friday Artwalk, and by the end of the evening, 17 households subscribed to the service, and then the real fun began!

Who do you serve, and how can people get in touch with you if they want to start composting?

Lyttle: Garbage to Garden serves the following communities:

From our Portland, Maine based HQ: Bath, Biddeford, Brunswick, Cape Elizabeth, Cumberland, Falmouth, Gorham, North Yarmouth, Portland, Scarborough, Standish, South Portland, Westbrook, Windham, Yarmouth

From our satellite operation based in Saugus, Massachusetts: Arlington, Belmont, Medford, Somerville

Interested folks can sign up on our website at garbagetogarden.org, email us at info@garbagetogarden.org or call us at 207-332-0277 in Maine and 617-977-4547 in Massachusetts.

How much organic material do you typically take in on a weekly basis?

Lyttle: Garbage to Garden collects nearly 80-100 tons of organic waste per week from over 10,000 households and hundreds of businesses, schools, and other organizations.

Please give us one fun fact about you or your business.

Lyttle: Local breweries provide us with their spent grain bags, which we upcycle by sewing them in-house to make the bags that we use to store the lids to our buckets on the route! In this same vein, we also collect used cooking oil from our participants which we bring to Maine Standard Biofuels who make the soap we use to wash the buckets!

Is there any additional information about your operation that you’d like to share?

Lyttle: We are very community-oriented at GtG! In an effort to make composting affordable and accessible to everyone, participants can receive free service in exchange for getting involved in the community. We send out a newsletter each month that lists volunteer opportunities in Maine and Massachusetts! Questions pertaining to our volunteer program can be directed to volunteer@garbagetogarden.org.

We also service many local businesses. In addition to our commercial composting services, we provide comprehensive recycling services for a wide range of businesses including office buildings, cafes, schools, breweries, dispensaries, you name it! We offer a flexible, cost-effective service as well as helpful signage and education to keep service smooth and accessible for everyone involved.

Garbage to Garden will provide anything from a 32-gallon toter for compostables at your backyard BBQ to fully staffed waste management at multi-day music festivals! We are looking forward to the time when we can safely gather at events like this in 2021 and beyond!

If you would like to be featured in a future edition of Community Heroes, please email us at marketing@biobagusa.com.


Community Hero: Earth Diaper

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 Earth Diaper!

Earth Diaper’s mission is to create a cleaner, greener world for all by composting diapers that would otherwise overcrowd landfills. Based in Santa Cruz, California, they also support parents who struggle to afford diapers by partnering with agencies that work directly with the families to provide free or subsidized diapers and composting services. Earth Diaper also serves group homes, such as homeless shelters and safe homes for victims of domestic violence. 

Co-Founder Lily Broberg Strong, RN, has worked as a public health home visiting nurse in the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Cruz, serving vulnerable populations for the last decade. She has seen first-hand the need for diapers and the stress families experience as a result of this unmet need. We spoke to Lily to learn a little more about her organization.

What led you to start your composting operation?

Strong: Diapers are 3% of our landfill waste and growing. They take 500 years to break down and are filled with chemicals. Mothers tell me that it hurts their hearts to create so much garbage (about 7,000 diapers per child, on average). I got started working with low-income mothers & babies as a public health nurse home visitor and noticed how hard it was for these families to afford diapers. Often these moms have to make choices between essentials like food & rent or diapers. This creates both stress for parents and sometimes skin breakdown for babies (if they are not changed enough). My love of the earth and babies combined gave birth to the idea to bring free compostable diapers to shelter families. We piloted the program in 2018 and just kept going because we got so much good feedback and the families love it.

Who do you serve, and how can people get in touch with you if they want to start composting?

Strong: We serve a homeless shelter for women with young children in Santa Cruz, California. We hope to grow to other shelters where composting is available. We use donations to fund compostable diapers and wipes purchases for the shelter. We contract with another company (EarthBaby) to drop off and pick up diapers and then diapers are composted at Z-best in Gilroy, which is a huge composting operation with a permit for human waste.

If anyone is interested in donating to purchase diapers for a low income family (and divert them from a landfill!) visit our website at earthdiaper.org and click on the donate button. All donations are tax deductible. If you are interested in buying compostable diapers for your own use, please also visit our website and check out our affiliate partner organizations.

How much organic material do you typically take in on a weekly basis?

Strong: We compost about 150 diapers a week currently. Our diaper use depends on how many babies are at the shelter and how old they are. 

Please give us one fun fact about you or your business.

Strong: We love poop jokes! Also, we had a great article in the Santa Cruz Goodtimes. To read it, click here

 

If you would like to be featured in a future edition of Community Heroes, please email us at marketing@biobagusa.com.


Community Hero: Compost Queens

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 Compost Queens!

The Compost Queens mission is to help the San Antonio community use the abundant resource of food waste to replenish the soil and create more sustainable food and economic cycles by creating a difference in community perceptions and habits involving food, waste, and sustainability. We spoke to Alma Rominger, the Director of Marketing and Communications for Compost Queens, to learn a little more about their organization.

What led you to start your composting operation?

Rominger: We had long known the environmental and garden benefits of composting and did our own composting in our backyard. Learning about the benefits of Bokashi Composting is what inspired us to create Compost Queens. We thought that the ease of use would really help encourage our community to start composting and we wanted to share the magic!  We wanted to make it as easy as possible so that more people were able to divert their food scraps and we could lower our community-produced emissions, all while helping to grow food as well!

Who do you serve, and how can people get in touch with you if they want to start composting?

Rominger: We service residents and businesses in the San Antonio area with our composting services and will be selling our Bokashi flakes nationwide in our online store by March 2021.

How much organic material do you typically take in on a weekly basis?

Rominger: We collect an average of 9,000 pounds per week. 

Please give us one fun fact about you or your business.

Rominger: Our founders are a mother-daughter duo!

If you would like to be featured in a future edition of Community Heroes, please email us at marketing@biobagusa.com.