Compost: A Community Effort?

A local crew of high schoolers are helping the South Hills of Pittsburgh to effectively compost.

While composting has been an effective way to reduce waste in landfills, families in Mt. Lebanon have been less than savvy. The township, along with others in the area, is filled with suburbs that produce lots of waste. With restrictions being put on glass recycling in the area recently, families have started becoming more environmentally conscious and have been looking for ways to reduce their contribution to landfills.

Composting, while dirty, is a very beneficial way to reduce one’s landfill contributions. Yard clippings (greens), food scraps, and dead leaves (browns) can be composted, along with other waste. For a list of some common things you can compost, click here. 

Composting lowers your carbon footprint. Compost is also considered humus, which means it is very nutrient rich. The combination of “greens” and “browns” that are mixed with water create this very rich soil, which can be used to revitalize other soil. Using compost to regain nutrients in soil also reduces the need for chemical fertilizers.

While composting is very environmentally friendly, some folks don’t have the space or time to tend to a compost bin, or don’t have a healthy supply of both browns and greens. Luckily there are other ways to contribute to composting though.

Lebo Lawns, a company started four years ago by Will McElhattan, is a collective of high school seniors who do various types of yardwork for the community, from lawn cutting to mulching. This year, Will and one of his partners, Eddie Kubit, have started collecting compost in the community. 

Will McElhattan (left) and Eddie Kubit (right) have been collecting compost for their community of Mt. Lebanon. Photos courtesy of Eddie Kubit. 

Every other week, Eddie and Will drive their trucks to the compost participants’ houses and empty all of the waste out. Then they drop all of the compost off to another partner, who takes it and compost from surrounding communities to AgRecycle Compost Center in Point Breeze. 

AgRecycle is a large-scale composting operation which sells back the compost they make. They collect yard and food scraps from a variety of groups, from farmers to hotels to everyday civilians. Once composted, they sell the nutrient-rich soil and mulch for $30-50 per cubic yard.

 AgRecycle is an integral force in producing compost in the Commonweath of Pennsylvania. They help people and companies who don’t have the space or resources to compost themselves by composting their materials for them and in turn reduce the waste in landfills while also selling nutrient rich soil back to the community.

With the help of these high school students, Mt. Lebanon families are able to effectively compost and help to not only reduce landfill waste and improve the quality of their soil, but to also help create mulch for the rest of the community.

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