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Bay View Compost Concept Picks Up Steam

Susan Bence

Americans create waste. According to the EPA, in 2010 we - cumulatively – generated about 250 million tons of trash. However, we’re also becoming better at keeping garbage out of landfills.

During that same year – 2010, we recycled or composted 85 million tons. As our Earth Week series continues, we meet a group in Bay View trying to add to the compost pile.

WUWM Environmental Reporter Susan Bence visited Kompost Kids’ venture in an out of the way location - just west of Kinnickinnic – along a railroad line.

Melissa Tashjian is one of its founders.

"We started about four years ago, just a bunch of Bay View residents, and we were looking to create a community garden down the street. We realized that our largest overhead was soil and so were like man, all these businesses on KK, let's start doing this."

The group picks up compostables from area restaurants and cafes. This weekend, they are slated to deliver “homemade” soil and help set up a couple of satellite compost sites around town. "We want to be able to not just mimic this here in Milwaukee, but take this to other places in Wisconsin. And why even stop in Wisconsin? Being able to set up a model that can be creative and sustained through volunteer effort is great, but being able to take it to the next level so that we can empower them with the tools that they need is even better."

Credit Susan Bence

Tashjian says Kompost Kids flip their compost bins every Saturday at Noon - rain or shine - and she invites people to bring vegetable scraps.

Susan Bence entered broadcasting in an untraditional way. After years of avid public radio listening, Susan returned to school and earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She interned for WUWM News and worked with the Lake Effect team, before being hired full-time as a WUWM News reporter / producer.