Compost a Reality in the Hudson Valley

By Matthew Taylor

Woodstock NY Transition, established in 2011, began with a small initiating group, producing Public Information sessions and movies.  As the core group developed a workable structure, including a Constitution and Orientation Packet, 12 Working Groups evolved.  One of these Working Groups began as Greenware to Go, with the mission of converting local restaurants’ tableware to recyclable/biodegradable products. Quickly, the Working Group discovered this mission was too small and were determined to convert local business to a complete composting program.  They quickly discovered Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency, which had a highly functioning composting facility in nearby Kingston, accepting all forms of compostable/biodegradable materials.  The working group changed its name to WOW, Woodstock Organic Waste, and went looking for a vendor who would be willing and able to haul compostables from Woodstock restaurants and stores to the nearby facility.  Miraculously, Compost Valley showed Up!

Compost Valley, a local and privately owner compost hauler, is on a mission to transform New York’s Hudson Valley, a region renowned for its natural beauty and local, sustainable food scene. According to founders Julian Lesser and Philippe Trinh, compost is the next crucial step for the Hudson Valley to remain on the cutting edge of the green movement.  Together, WOW and Compost Valley were ready to create a compost hauling route for Woodstock.
  
Woodstock NY Transition has fostered numerous relationships in the community through its commitment to introducing and embracing positive, sustainable change. WOW has played a vital role in raising local awareness of the importance of composting. It has acted as an essential liaison between local businesses and Compost Valley, enabling the project to transition from idea to reality. 
  
Compost Valley is establishing itself as the area’s first commercial and residential compost hauling service, making the popular farm-to-table ethos more sustainable by extending it to include table-to-farm as well. Since the program provides materials and offers customized pickup schedules, composting is a simple commitment for businesses and homes alike. 
 
The primary challenge is getting people to reevaluate what they think of as “garbage.” A significant portion of what we discard is actually compostable organic waste, meaning that much of the content in our landfills could instead be recycled and turned into a rich soil. This compost then remains in the local community and enriches the land for farms and gardens.   
 
Lesser and Trinh, whose home is in Kingston, see this project as beneficial not only for their beloved Hudson Valley community but also for the progressive environmental movement as a whole. They envision composting as the 21st century equivalent to recycling, which only became prominent in the 1980’s and is now one of the most fundamental aspects of waste management. 
 
Thanks to Woodstock NY Transition, Woodstock is set to have the first compost pick-up route in Ulster County. This has enormous positive implications on both the global and local scale. In addition to reducing Woodstock’s carbon footprint and fighting against global warming, local schools and farms can actually make use of the organic waste the community generates. 
 
This is an exciting time for the Hudson Valley, and a testament to the profound impact of projects initiated by dedicated community members.

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