Some teenagers will spend this summer babysitting, or at the beach or camp.
Four Staples girls plan to pick up your garbage, compost it, then return it for use as natural fertilizer.
The only thing better than their idea is the new company’s name: Soil Yourself Composting.
The great green idea germinated with Casey Richardson’s research paper. She chose urban agriculture, and learned that small steps can have major environmental impacts.
She and fellow juniors Sasha Berns, Molly Pieper and Venetia Stanley realized they could take those steps. They batted around ideas like delivering organic food to Westport homes. Eventually they settled on a logical, doable project that is practical, important, and involves something everyone has: trash.
Starting June 22, Casey and her cohorts will go around town. Utilizing 5-gallon buckets they’ll pick up kitchen scraps, dead plants, lawn clippings — anything natural — and bring them to Casey’s back yard. There they’ll be dumped into 1 of 4 composters, and nature will begin working.
They’ll repeat the process every Monday. When the composting is done — it takes a few weeks — the girls will deliver it back to the “owners.” Compost — similar to potting soil — is far better than chemical fertilizer. It cleans contaminated soil, reduces carbon dioxide and methane, saves landfill space and prevents land erosion. (For more composting facts, visit Soil Yourself’s website).
The cost is $5 per week. The buckets — all recycled from area stores — are free.
The Soil Yourself girls are as green — as in ecology — as they come. They bought used composters at a New York City urban agriculture seminar.
“We went to the Lower East Side to learn about composting,” Sasha says. “There were a lot of ex-hippies and Brooklyn hipsters — and us. We were the only people there who actually had lawns.”
Their friends and families are not certain what to think. A few have said, “So you’re going to be a garbageman?”
Others totally get it. Fellow junior Caroline Hershey came up with the Soil Yourself name. A few classmates — mixing the environment with entrepreneurial zeal — have offered to invest.
Right now, the profit motive is less important to Soil Yourself than the idea behind it.
“If you don’t want to sign up and pay $5 a week, at least check out our website,” Casey says. “You can learn how to do composting yourself. That’s free, and it’s totally fine.”