The Most Important Questions to Ask When Vetting a Composting Company

Business people discussing charts and graphs

When looking into private composting companies to work with your restaurant, school, office, or apartment building, it’s important to thoroughly vet each one. You will want to find out the ifs and hows of a variety of topics, including:

  • will your food waste be reliably collected
  • will your food waste be used in an environmentally responsible way
  • what the company’s pricing structure is and any additional fees
  • whether or not they have the flexibility to meet your business’ needs

We will walk you through these topics and cover which questions to ask during the vetting process to help you find the company that is the best fit for you.

Company Background and Practices

Looking into the history of a company is an excellent starting place in your vetting process. You want to get a sense of their track record, their experience base, customer satisfaction, and general practices. Some good questions to consider as you look into a company:

  • Service area – what is their service area and is your business included in that area?
  • Experience – do they have experience collecting from other businesses in your industry? If so, that can offer you a peace of mind as a potential customer.
  • Timing – do they respond quickly to your initial request? The answer to this question can help you predict what a working relationship with the company might look like, positive or negative.
  • Reputation – what do other businesses have to say about them? You can look for online ratings, or potentially contact businesses from their client list (if they have one publicly available).
  • References – do they have public references from past clients available on their website or in their promotional material?
  • Sustainability – do they implement sustainability practices within their own company, and if so, what kinds?
  • Insurance – do they have coverage for potential accidents or damages incurred during the collection process?

Composting Plans

Understanding the terms of a  company’s composting contracts is one of the highest priorities in deciding who your business should partner with. Consider the following:

  • Pricing – how is the service priced, and what  factors into that? Is it a flat fee, or per pick up? How often are the containers collected and what size bins are included in the price points? What other services are included?
  • Length – how long is the contract for? Is there a minimum or fixed amount of time? 
  • Flexibility – what kind of flexibility do they offer if your composting needs increase or decrease? Will they let you change the number of bins you use or the frequency of collections? Can you change the collection day?
  • Fees and Penalties – will you incur any penalties for changing or canceling your contract in the future?
  • Change in Demands – will they account for any lags or surges in the demand throughout the year? For instance, if you run a school, will they help you account for lower food waste volumes during spring break?
  • Incentives – does the company reward you with an option to receive compost back for your own use in return for the food waste collected?

Onboarding

Coming onboard with a new composting program can be a smooth experience for your organization and employees, provided the collection company offers the proper training and information up front to show you the basics of composting and the collection process.

  • Training – does the company provide compost training for your employees?
  • Dos and Don’ts – do they have a clear list of what is and isn’t compostable for your employees to reference in the workplace?
  • End of the line – are they transparent with you about what happens to the organic waste they collect from you, and where it finally ends up? This kind of knowledge can be vital to gaining enthusiasm for an at-work composting initiative – people like knowing the difference their efforts are making in the world.

Pickups

Food waste pickups are the main interactions you and your business will have with the composting collection company. Consider asking the following questions to fully understand what pickups involve and how responsibilities are shared:

  • Appropriate containers – do they provide the required bins for the organic waste collection?
  • Swap out  – will they leave clean bins after each collection, or will you be responsible for cleaning the bins?
  • Critters and smells – are the containers they provide designed to protect against odors and pests?
  • The list – what types of food and other materials can be composted?

Tracking and Reporting

Our proprietary Diversion Dashboard where subscribers can track progress and impact.

Some composting companies will offer diversion reporting, which tracks the amount of compostable waste that has been diverted from landfills. These reports can be encouraging to your employees (giving them the opportunity to see the difference their efforts are making) and helpful for your customers to see (allowing them to feel confident about working with a company that is making positive contributions to fighting climate change). Topics to discuss include:

  • Cards on the table – do they offer any kind of reporting service that will be available to your company?
  • The rundown – what information is included in their reports?
  • Tracking – do they offer a tracking system that allows you to see future pickup dates and times?

Moonshot Compost Can Help

Moonshot Compost offers compost service for restaurants, offices, schools, and more throughout Texas in the cities of Houston, Austin, Waco, and Dallas.

Learn more about Moonshot and how we offer simple, flexible plans with innovative reporting.