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Environmental nonprofit gets state grant funding to launch ‘compost petting zoo’

Katie Rodriguez

Organic waste makes up a one-third of Michigan’s solid waste stream. And it’s not just food. It’s also yard waste and paper.

"A big chunk, in fact the biggest chunk of that by weight, will be the organic segment of that solid waste stream," said Sarna Salzman, executive director of Seeds education centers in Traverse City. "So if we can prevent a bunch of organics from going to the landfill, that would support the state’s overall goal of reducing the solid waste we’re producing.

The $163,340 state grant will go towards creating a new compost training facility, she said. There, she said the public will be trained in how composting works and how it helps the environment.

“We will be building out what I’m currently calling a compost petting zoo, showcasing a number of different technologies that can work in various scales so that folks can get more familiar with what the actual process of composting can look like," Salzman said.

Salzman said reducing, reusing, and recycling organics goes a long way towards Michigan’s solid waste reduction goal. The state wants to cut the solid waste stream by 45% by 2025.

Ben Jodway is an intern, serving as a reporter for WCMU Public Media and the Pioneer in Big Rapids. He has covered Indigenous communities and political extremism in Michigan.