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Chaffee Green, a volunteer-based grassroots organization, is hosting a free Composting and Vermiculture Workshop for restaurants and members of the community. The event will take place from 9 to 11:30 a.m ., Tuesday, March 26, at the Watershed (410 E. Main St.) in Buena Vista.

The first half of the event will feature Julie Mach, who owns and operates Elements Mountain Compost based in Salida. According to Chaffee Green spokeswoman Donna Maloney, Mach’s business focuses on commercial composting and offers a pickup service to restaurants in both Buena Vista and Salida.

“According to Julie … composting 30 gallons per week for one year is equivalent to taking 1.5 passenger cars off the road, installing 190 CFL bulbs or saving six acres of forest.” Maloney said.

According to Mach, 40 percent of household waste is compostable material. However, the 40 percent figure breaks down into two distinct categories.

According to the 2017 Waste Optimization Regional Study conducted by the Upper Arkansas Area Council of Governments, “food waste accounts for 17.3 percent of contents going into local landfills while yard waste and other compostable organics account for another 16.1 percent.”

Chaffee Green is encouraging all Buena Vista area restaurants to attend. Currently, the Surf Hotel is the only restaurant in Buena Vista using Mach’s composting service. All restaurant representatives are invited to hear Mach speak and encouraged to consider the benefits of composting as a waste management tool.

Mach’s presentation will conclude by 10 a.m., allowing restaurant representatives to return to their kitchens.

Trish Cullinan, a master composter, will present during the second half of the event. Cullinan’s presentation will focus on backyard composting, and its feasibility for everyday residents.

“Trish is a master composter, like a master gardener but in composting,” said Maloney. “She will be discussing how we can backyard compost, including using Vermiculture (using worms to break down organic material).”

Chaffee Green is also in the process of establishing community drop-sites for compostable material. These drop-sites would be available to those who do not have adequate room or the desire to compost in their backyard. Volunteer surveys will be available at the meeting should anyone desire more information on the drop-site project.

The workshop is free to attend and no registration is required. Donations to Chaffee Green and to the drop-site project will also be accepted.