Curbside compost pickup service launches in Long Beach

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- When Sawyer Fox moved from San Francisco to Long Beach, he knew there was a void that needed to be filled when it came to food waste.

"When I lived in San Francisco, everyone had a compost bin outside their house," said Fox. "Moving to Long Beach and learning that it wasn't like that everywhere was startling to me."

That's when, in August of 2019, Fox launched Common Rot, a curbside compost pick-up service in Long Beach.

"The goal is to get the majority of businesses on board as possible because they are creating the most waste," he said.

Fox works a full-time job, but on the weekends, he picks up compost bins from Long Beach residents and businesses, such as Berlin Bistro.

"As a coffee house, we have an enormous waste in coffee beans alone," said Kersten Kansteiner, owner of Berlin Bistro. "We had to double our pickup because we have so much waste that would've just gone into our trashcan otherwise."

Fox said he works out a price with small businesses to match their needs. Typically, a weekly curbside pickup will cost residents or businesses between $30 and $40 per month.

It gets even better.

Each week, Fox drops off the hundreds of pounds of organic waste, at no cost, to The Growing Experience in North Long Beach. The urban farm uses the compost to make nutrient-rich, fertile soil, which is used to plant crops, which go right back into the Long Beach community.

"We grow fruits and veggies so that we can serve the local community and people that might not have access to organic fruits and veggies," said Allison Slay of The Growing Experience. "Without this, we wouldn't be able to grow what we do here."

Fox hopes that Common Rot is the catalyst for change in the City of Long Beach.

"Nothing would make me happier than for the city to take over this operation and make it accessible for every resident and every business," he said.

Until then, Fox said he is happy to spend his weekends picking up and dropping off compost in the hopes of making a positive change in Long Beach.

For more information about Common Rot, visit their website.

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