It’s hard to believe that on December 9, 2012 we started collecting coffee grounds at Starbucks in Brecksville, Ohio as part of their free Grounds For Your Garden initiative. It’s great to see Starbucks initiate a voluntary program and it inspired us to begin an exciting first year of business. Upon our first year of recycling food waste we will clear 26,000 pounds of organic material from food waste, coffee grounds, to mulched leaves. Not to mention the passion at all our urban farms, 20,000 pounds of coffee grounds from Dunkin Donuts in Parma Heights, Cleveland Botanical Garden, Quasar Energy Group, and edible education at schoolyards coming in 2014, including 2 new schools and possibly 80 others, just in Cleveland Metropolitan School District. We have many urban farmers, stores, cafes, and restaurants on waiting list – we are sorry – and thank you for your patients. Feel free to contact us if you would like to be added on our waiting list. We have invited edible education initiatives in other school districts, too since we believe the importance of teaching students and the public where food comes from. So sit back and relax as we take you on our first year photo journey below. Thank you and we wish everyone a blessed and Happy New Year 2014!
December 9. Starbucks does a variety of corporate initiatives for sustainability in three focus areas: Community one cup one community, Ethical Sourcing by supporting the farmers they work with, and Environment with green stores and recycling, resulting in their Global Responsibility Report Card with 18,000 stores in 60 countries. On December 9, 2012, Groundz began recycling Starbucks’ coffee grounds, inspiring us to become a company; we have recycled almost 3 tons of Starbucks’ coffee grounds and espresso waste among 6 locations; every location produces at least 75 pounds per day. We look forward to continuing to meet the needs of Starbucks’ organic waste in 2014.
January 17. I began Groundz Recycling in my parent’s backyard, our first ton. I remember excitement when I told my mom it’s great that I found a solution to the food/organic waste recycling challenges. “Spreading compost all over my yard is a solution?” mom said. I went back to the drawing board to learn where/who/what are the entire uses of organic waste recycling? Who would benefit most? I am most grateful and thankful for the support of my parents in the early days of starting up.
January 26. Mr. Cort Cable, volunteer operations director of Groundz, is gracious to allow us to use his backyard to expand our operations. In photo, Cort wheelbarrowing 122 pounds of coffee grounds (about 6 cubic feet) and 15 pounds of Amish sawdust. Mr. Cable continues to provide a truck, a composting headquarters, and important operational support. He is also allowed us to use his chicken coop as a storage facility for hundreds of Melt Bar and Grilled 5-gallon pickle buckets.
February 1. Mr. Patrick Fucile, founding partner, formed Groundz Recycling into an LLC. His excitement and drive to make our efforts official is amazing. In photo: Mr. Fucile dumping our 2nd ton.
March 8. Dunkin Donuts in Middleburg Heights, Ohio offered us our first set of 5-gallon buckets. We must give the very first credit of 5-gallon buckets to Panera Bread in Independence, Ohio. Both locations gave us the idea to re-purpose pickle buckets instead of purchase them. In the photo, we thought we were going to line our buckets with burlap, but the wet coffee grounds soaked through. We still use buckets without liners, but we are considering options with other types of bag liners, like paper bags. Thanks to Panera Bread and Dunkin Donuts giving us the idea of buckets, Melt Bar and Grilled noticed our repurposing of buckets service.
April 1. Melt Bar and Grilled, featured on Travel Channel’s Man Versus Food, becomes our official supplier of 5-gallon buckets. On April 1 we pickup our first 109 pickle buckets allowed us to expand services to many locations and to offer our customers soil in a bucket, not a bag. We were also able to donate 20 buckets to Drink Local. Drink Tap. to help them cleanup Edgewater Beach on Lake Erie. We were thrilled to donate 232 buckets to Daniel Brown and Michael Robinson; these buckets will be decorated and stenciled for use in resident’s kitchen’s so they can recycle food waste.
May 10. Dunkin Donuts in Parma Heights, Ohio cleared 2 tons of recycled coffee grounds since beginning January 6th. By the time January 6, 2014 comes, the store will easily clear 20,000 pounds of just coffee grounds. At the time of this article, Dunkin Donuts Parma Heights has been a zero organic waste store since May. We look forward to learning how we may serve their needs and the organic waste needs of other locations in 2014.
June 7. Maggie’s Farm becomes our very first urban farm to become a Groundz composting farm. This is a better solution (than spreading compost over my parent’s yard) for organic waste recycling. In photo: We are thankful for our friendly neighbor, Mr. Inman, who constructs our compost bins, we now have 9 in all and growing. Also in the photo is Amish sawdust from our avid workworker who makes wine racks and journeys out to Byler’s in Middlefield for 40 years. We almost have recycled 400 pounds of Amish sawdust for him, who frequently attends craft shows during Christmas time. Thus far we have composted over 6,000 pounds of food and non-food waste since beginning.
July 26. Buckeye Farms of Cleveland Botanical Garden breaks ground with the help of Green Corps. The Garden’s Green Corps has been employing inner city youth from Cleveland Metropolitan School District since 1996. It’s a three-year, part-time paid employment teaching youth about job skills, leadership, local food systems, urban agriculture, soil sciences, and food economics. Since beginning, we have recycled 33 cubic feet/week of Buckeye Farms’ own organic farm waste, leaves, and almost 5,000 pounds of Dunkin Donuts’ coffee grounds.
August 10. Y.O.U. at Maggie’s Farm helped us to determine if we should begin accepting compostable packaging form Phoenix Coffee Company. In our experiment we mixed the corn-based bio-plastic cups and lids into Groundz compost ratios to determine if they breakdown in our mix. Results: They do not breakdown, except in only a limited about of commercial facilities, under shredders, hot water, and controlled processes. Also, the source point of making the cups may come from genetically modified plants. Therefore, we do NOT accept them.
September 9. Over the Labor Day Weekend, Mr. Inman, constructs 4 more compost bins, just in time for Dunkin Donuts’ pumpkin spice lattes. He is ready to construct more compost bins as we serve more cafes, residents, stores, and restaurants.
October 26. We donated 232 buckets with re-sealable lids for Cleveland Bike Composting initiative by Mr. Daniel Brown and Mr. Michael Robinson. The team fundraised $4,231 to help them weld trikes for bicycle pickup services for residents. It’s exciting to see their initiative because it will give residents an opportunity to subscribe to a service and order other services when available, including the delivery of CSAs. Please check out Dan’s Midwest Sustainable Cities Symposium and important work in Northeast Ohio.
November 25. We helped one resident on Big Creek Parkway to recycle/compost their mulched leaves. We composted 758 pounds of mulched leaves at time of publishing this article. We may have a few more trips there. We learned very important pounds per cubic yard by weight and pounds of leaves-to-food waste ratio and learned that this one resident had enough leaves to successfully recycle 1 Dunkin Donuts’ coffee grounds for 1-year.
December 3. Cleveland Groundz met at Cleveland Botanical Garden to begin discussing details on how we will incorporate composting, food and organic waste recycling, into work tasks for Green Corps. and provide them additional sources of funding and revenue. We spoke about how you will be able to go to Buckeye to purchase compost and that perhaps we will call it “spicy compost” since we are composting a lot of their spent chili peppers from their famous salsa.
Gregory Jackson, COO & Founder