By Catherine Porter West, Buunni Associate
As Elias and Sarina are getting ready to open their first cafe, they have been trying to find ways to make the cafe not only community oriented but also environmentally friendly. I have been working on composting options for Cafe Buunni. We are planning on making compost an integral part of our waste management system.
Composting separates food waste from landfills and significantly decreases the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. Composting also utilizes and recycles essential nutrients. The natural breakdown process of food waste produces nutrient rich compost soil. This can be used in gardens, farms, parks, and anywhere plants grow.
In addition to composting our food waste, we will also be using compostable disposable cups and utensils. The corn-based cups we are considering look and function just like any other disposable cups but they breakdown completely and become compost that is beneficial to the natural enviroment, in stark contrast to plastics.
Cafe Buunni will be working with a commercial composting company to manage our composting needs. Working with a commercial composting company gives our cafe a few more advantages than “backyard” composting. First, it takes the food waste away from the cafe so we will not attract rodents to the cafe and its neighbors. Second, the company has a distribution system in place for the compost produced so we that it gets used as it should in creating rich, fertile soil. Lastly, working with a large company expands the types of things we can compost.
An important thing to remember about the compostable cups and utensils is that they do not break down like a banana peel. The cups need to be heated to about 120 degrees to be able to break down properly. This is why working with a commercial composting company gives us an advantage. Their process for composting allows the natural heat produced from the sun, the microorganisms that break down the waste, and an industrial tarp to naturally heat the compost to temperatures around 150 degrees. Ultimately these cups will be transformed into rich and useful compost without toxins being released into the environment.
We are really excited about our composting program and hope that you are too! Cafe Buunni aims to be a community resource and we believe that respecting the environment is a part of respecting our community.