BLOOMINGTON – The City of Bloomington’s Department of Economic and Sustainable Development, in partnership with EarthKeepers, is providing support for restaurants and retail food establishments to reduce and divert food waste from the landfill through the newly created Compost Up Downtown program.
The new program supports a priority identified in the City’s Climate Action Plan (Strategy WM1-A, https://bton.in/ZC2Y5) to increase the community’s organic material diversion by 40%. Compost Up Downtown is funded through Mayor John Hamilton’s Recover Forward initiative to help Bloomington recover from the pandemic and advance racial, economic, and climate justice.
The Compost Up Downtown program will offer a three-month composting trial period with EarthKeepers for 16 eligible restaurants and retail food establishments between April 2022 and May 2023. During the trial period, valued at $5,000, participating food service businesses will receive a waste audit, assistance setting up compost collections, and three months of compost collection services. The program aims to reduce technical and financial barriers to integrating composting practices in restaurant operations.
At the end of the three-month trial period, program participants will receive customized, discounted quotes for continuing service through EarthKeepers. Restaurants will participate as a cohort of four businesses, and intake forms will be accepted on a rolling basis by the cohort application deadline.
To be eligible to participate in Compost Up Downtown program, restaurants, and retail food establishments must be located in the Bloomington Entertainment and Arts District (BEAD). Businesses must also have a valid Monroe County Health Department permanent retail food establishment license. At this time, mobile food vendors are not eligible for this program.
Participating establishments in the Compost Up Downtown will receive the following during the three-month trial:
- Weekly collection of hot-stamped composting collection rollers and delivery of sanitized replacement rollers two or three times per week, depending on assessed needs
- 5-gallon buckets and 1.5-gallon kitchen compost pails, with lids, for internal composting collection use
- On-site waste audit, including EarthKeepers presentation and Q&A for owners and staff, a staff training session, discussions with staff to identify common composting contaminants, development of standard operating procedures for composting, and custom signage and bin placement
- Compost sorting posters, bin labels, and educational materials
- Mixed-media promotions as program partners, including window decals and a personalized web profile on the EarthKeepers website
Applications and more information about program participation are available at bloomington.in.gov/sustainability/compost.
Please direct questions and completed applications to Lauren Clemens, Assistant Director of Sustainability, at email@example.com. Please note that completing the intake form does not guarantee participation in the program and participation will be limited to 16 businesses.
This program is a collaboration between the City of Bloomington’s Department of Economic and Sustainable Development Department and EarthKeepers.
About Recover Forward
Recover Forward is a multi-year initiative to help our community rebound and thrive as we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, moving toward greater racial, economic, and climate justice as we do so. More than $15 million has been approved to date by the City Council for critical investments. Recover Forward Bloomington includes $9 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act and $6 million from City reserve funds. Learn more at bloomington.in.gov/recoverforward.
EarthKeepers is a local women-owned benefit corporation focused on helping the community embrace the benefits of composting and resource recovery by offering commercial and residential compost collection services and educating community members on waste diversion. Learn more at earthkeeperscompost.com.
About the Bloomington Entertainment and Arts District
The Bloomington Entertainment and Arts District (BEAD) is a state-designated mixed cultural district located in the heart of Bloomington’s downtown. The BEAD seeks to bring the business and creative sectors together to advance commerce and culture, build community, spur sustainable economic development, and foster excellent place quality. Learn more at visitbead.com.