Spend a morning riding shotgun in Food Waste Disposal (FWD) founder Wayne Koeckeritz’s steed (in this case, a rear-loading garbage truck), and chances are, you’ll have a whole different definition of “waste” when it comes to food. In fact, you might even find yourself jonesin’ for a compost pile of your own. (Yes, you can actually “jones” for compost).
The composting idea came to life earlier this year when—with the support of family and friends—Wayne left his former job as Director of Engineering at The Sanctuary on Kiawah Island Golf Resort, purchased a garbage truck, and set out for a new adventure that had been stirring in the back of his head for a while. “I turned 40 last September,” says Wayne of his decision to start FWD. “If I didn’t try it, I’d be pretty angry at myself.”
According to Wayne, the latest figures show that 34 million tons of food is disposed of every year. Of that 34 million, 33 million tons is buried in landfills—leaving a measly 3% to get recovered.
“This is an incredible opportunity to take a valuable resource, pull it out of a landfill, and turn it into compost—keep it local,” says Wayne.
So, uh, how do we do that? For starters, Wayne is working with local restaurants (Wild Olive, T-Bonz, and Taco Boy, to name a few) to start a food waste pick-up program. He supplies each restaurant with a few of his trusty green FWD bins where they can dispose of their food waste (think anything from lemon peels to coffee grounds to cooked meat) instead of tossing it in the garbage. Then, the one-man show makes his rounds three times a week to empty the containers and transport them to Bees Ferry Landfill Compost Facility, where after as little as 90 days, the “waste” is turned into compost.
Ready to see the process go completely full circle? Wayne keeps track of each of his partners progress, and for every 2,000 pounds he picks up, they earn 40 pounds of compost that they can use in their own gardens or donate it to someone in the community.
As for the future of FWD and compost in Charleston County? Wayne remains excited and hopeful. “There’s really no limit to this.”
Here’s to the little garbage truck that could.
Story by: Evans Craddock
Photos by: Jason A. Zwiker