October 22, 2021

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It Is What You Do

Diverting Central Florida‘s food items squander grows from a person-person mission to group effort and hard work

6 min read

ORLANDO, Fla. – One guy with a truck and a pitchfork — that’s how Charlie Pioli explained O-Town Compost when he began the small business a little a lot more than a yr and a 50 % back. Now, he has a workforce of staff and a workspace in an Orlando warehouse.

O-Town Compost is a subscription services where by Pioli and his staff give shoppers a bucket lined with a compostable bag. The customers then fill that bucket with their foodstuff and natural and organic waste. O-City Compost collects the bucket for composting and leaves a clean bucket in its position. Twice for each calendar year, the corporation delivers a 20-pound bucket of compost, which Pioli phone calls “black gold,” back to their buyers.

Finished compost, inside a recycled Publix frosting container, prepared to be sent to O-City shoppers (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All rights reserved.)

“We have a person composting internet site out in Winter season Back garden that can cope with a major quantity — may well be eight tons of food items waste for each week. And then we have a composting web-site getting manufactured on the 4Roots Farm Campus and that also can take care of a related volume,” Pioli said.



Section of O-City Compost’s expansion will come from Pioli’s partnership with John Rivers and his 4Roots nonprofit. Pioli and Rivers satisfied through a business accelerator program at Rollins School, which the composter enrolled in for the duration of the pandemic. Rivers served as a mentor to Pioli. The warehouse the O-City Compost now operates out of is owned by 4Roots and also houses its Feed the Will need meals pantry program.

Considering the fact that then, Pioli has been able to incorporate a handful of employees to his O-Town workforce. With the addition of individuals workers, Pioli has also been able to increase his service area and he has grown to about 350 subscribers.


GF Default – Florida Foodie: Charlie Pioli

“Our services spot reaches all the way up to Sanford, south to The Florida Mall — and we’re searching to with any luck , extend to Lake Nona shortly — and then we go east to UCF and we assistance as considerably west as Apopka and Winter Garden. So we have rather a significantly get to,” Pioli said.

So what does O-Town’s growth indicate for its mission of diverting meals waste away from landfills? In accordance to its website, the company has composted 179,582 kilos of food stuff scraps. That’s practically 90 tons.

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According to the studies from the Environmental Defense Agency and the Food and Drug Administration, wasted food can make up the most important portion of content that goes to municipal landfills and that is just wasted food items. The doesn’t even contain matters like food items scraps this kind of as potato peels, apple cores and all that other leftover materials individuals are likely to throw out.

“That’s exactly why I decided to focus on natural and organic wastes in the very first position. Contrary to typical recycling — cans, bottles, paper — it’s way extra of a challenge. It is way far more major and we never have systems in location that can really do something with that substance,” Pioli explained.


Pioli is at first from Portland, Oregon, which has its own municipal composting plan identical to various other big municipalities throughout the U.S.

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“We’re altering the culture. We’re actually concentrated on having Orlando where by towns like Austin, Texas, Seattle, San Francisco — these cities who have been performing it for a decade now — it is time for the city of Orlando and the total Central Florida space to truly arrive up to pace and come up with a better answer for natural squander,” he claimed.


Pioli acknowledges that there is a even larger problem in bringing group composting to Central Florida, which includes education and learning about what can and simply cannot be composted.

Charlie Pioli loading up trucks with fresh food items scrap buckets for O-Town Compost prospects (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All rights reserved.)

It is an challenge that is by now a difficulty with recycling in the location. In 2019, the metropolis of Ocoee explained that almost 100% of its recycling finished up in the dump mainly because of contamination. The contamination difficulty is truly noticed all across Orange County.

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Contamination is definitely a concern for Pioli, but he stated, so considerably, he has not noticed a large issue with the majority of his customers.


“Most of our buyers are household and, of the household subscribers, we have less than 1% contamination fee,” he said. “Most of our contamination comes on the professional aspect with dining establishments —like foodstuff prep gloves that are produced of latex, we see a large amount of those. But we have actions in our process to acquire those out and we even provide compostable food stuff prep gloves. So if we can get individuals to transform to the much more sustainable, compostable assistance use — that is mitigating that trouble.”

There is 1 contaminant that does continue to keep popping up in Pioli’s compost: deliver stickers.

“I just cannot expect our subscribers to get rid of every one fruit or vegetable sticker, but they do not compost. They constantly stop up in the concluded item,” he reported. “I feel, eventually, we have to have to start off a marketing campaign — and with any luck , deliver collectively a coalition of all the neighborhood composters close to the country — exactly where we can petition these grocery suppliers and foodstuff makers. We need to come up with a improved alternative for examining a barcode on make objects. And if you appear at Sweden, they have natural imprints, like stamps on the produce, that (are) essentially just a barcode without having having a actual physical sticker.”


Pioli explained his future move with O-Town Compost will be to mature his business business enterprise. He’s by now nabbed two larger purchasers, servicing Rollins College’s eating hall and Valencia College’s East Campus.

“We’re rising this business enterprise quite bit by bit and very carefully. We’re not getting any shortcuts that might guide to extra contamination (or) undermining our theory, compost with no compromise,” he said.

Pioli has been petitioning Orange County to permit his enterprise to lease property on the county’s landfill.

“That web-site would make the most feeling for getting a huge (composting) facility due to the fact 1 they already are composting residential yard particles,” he mentioned. “The second purpose is simply because it is the landfill — it is unusable land, but it would make a great composting website.”

Whilst that stays a long-time period objective, Pioli strategies to emphasis far more on education.

“(We’ll be) heading to pop-up gatherings, farmers markets, spots where we can (get a) desk and really engage people today on why it’s so essential to preserve your foodstuff scraps out of the landfill, and how it can turn out to be a useful resource.”


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