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Sarasota County home composting program

Post Date:05/14/2019

A new Sarasota County program offers residents the chance to learn how to compost home food waste and purchase a starter composting bin at cost.

Scheduled monthly at locations across the county, "Let's Make Some Black Gold" workshops will provide participants education on the basics and benefits of composting, including reducing the amount of waste generated while creating landscape-friendly mulch and other composting byproducts.

And mirroring the county's highly popular "Rain Barrel Workshop" series, which teaches residents how to collect rain water and sells barrels for what the county pays, the composting workshops will offer attendees the option to purchase a GEOBIN-brand composting bin for the $25 cost to the county. Bin purchase is not required to attend, however.

"The composting workshops are a great introduction for anyone looking to get started with home composting," said Randy Penn, workshop coordinator and waste reduction agent with UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County. "They're also a great way to help reduce the amount of food and yard waste we dispose of in landfills."

Each year, Sarasota County residents and businesses send more than 275,000 tons of waste to landfills, according to data gathered by the county. Almost a quarter of that is food waste, yard clippings, paper scraps and other organic material that could be composted.

Currently, only about 2 percent of food waste is composted, per federal records. But the average Sarasota County household could compost 220 pounds of food waste each year, simply by following techniques and tips highlighted in a 90-minute "Let's Make Some Black Gold" workshop.

County leaders have been helping households reduce their water use through the rain barrel program launched in 2009. Since then, residents have bought more 3,200 rain barrels, with the potential to capture more than 176,000 gallons of stormwater after each rain. That captured water then is used instead of potable water for irrigation needs.

The composting workshops provide households another tool to increase the sustainability of their homes.

Make 2019 your year to start composting and reducing your impact on the environment. Register now to save your seat for a "Let's Make Some Black Gold" workshop by visiting or calling 941-861-5000.