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Turn Compost Tackles Dallas Food Waste

Turn serves 13 zip codes across Dallas and has diverted 17.4 tons of waste from landfill.

Turn Compost launched in April 2018 to provide curbside pickup service for residential customers, as well as businesses and restaurants in Dallas, making it the first curbside composting service provider in the city.

According to its website, Turn notes that 30 percent of the waste in Dallas’ landfills is compostable kitchen and yard waste. Turn serves 13 zip codes across the city and has succeeded in diverting 17.4 tons of waste from landfill.

The company has already gained a strong following. “We have a very loyal, passionate customer base right now. It’s amazing that the customers are such great advocates for the business,” says Turn Compost’s Cheryl Schuldenberg. “There are a lot of referrals that we receive through our customers because they are passionate, and I think they know the importance of diverting the food waste.”

Turn accepts raw fruit, veggie scraps, bread, grains, pasta, crackers, egg shells, coffee grounds, coffee filters, tea bags, beans, nuts and seeds.

For customers who prefer a drop-off option, they can bring in their food waste to Farmers Assisting Returning Military (F.A.R.M.), where Turn’s compost piles are located. Turn is currently working on securing additional drop-off sites.

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Community outreach and education are integral parts of the company’s mission. Turn hosts quarterly work days, where customers and interested volunteers can work the composting piles at F.A.R.M. At the end of the shift, company founder Lauren Clarke, who is also a Dallas County Master Gardener, provides a mini-workshop to discuss best practices for composting at home.

For the larger community, too, Turn presents workshops focused on topics such as how to plant, harvest, cook and recycle food in an urban space; urban composting basics; sustainable food preparation and food storage; composting for kids; and nurturing an edible landscaping.

For its restaurant clients, Turn offers basic composting tips to improve sorting and explains how composting can create a positive impact. “We do a one-on-one with them just to make sure that they know exactly what our vision is,” says Schuldenberg.

Another important part of the company’s mission is giving back to the local community. Subscribers are enrolled in the rewards program, where they will receive a “local item” as a reward. Subscribers also will receive finished compost twice a year and can choose to donate the compost to one of Turn’s community garden or school garden partners in the city—Turn has nearly 20 community partners across Dallas.

While Turn has been a leader, it’s just a matter of time before more composting providers enter the field in Dallas, notes Schuldenberg.

“We are trying to stay ahead of that trend, and when it does come to Dallas, we hope to still be here and be a part of that on a bigger scale,” says Schuldenberg.

The new company experienced rapid growth in 2018. For 2019, the goal is to continue to expand. “We just hope that we can cover more zip codes and service more clients,” says Schuldenberg.

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