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Reflections: Composting in Big Sky




Editor’s note: Kathy Bouchard, who regularly writes “Reflections,” is taking a short leave from writing this column. Her fellow Big Sky Rotarian Blair Mohn is temporarily stepping in.

Like most everybody in Big Sky, my wife Megan and I moved here from elsewhere. But given we moved just two years ago, we haven’t lost our surprise at the absence of convenient recycling and composting in Big Sky. So, through the Rotary Club and the broader community Sustainability Network Organization, we are collaborating for improvement.

Most people are familiar with recycling, however composting is a newer industry and equally important to create an environmentally sustainable community. Composting is a process that diverts food waste plus compostable food and beverage containers from trash dumps to a commercial composter, which turns these materials into rich topsoil.

Did you know both business and home composting services exist in Big Sky? They do!

Many restaurants are sending their food waste to compost and offering takeout meals in compostable containers. Please ask if your restaurant of choice is doing this, thank them if they do, and encourage them to switch if they do not. Trash-hauling fees are reduced when a restaurant adds composting since their garbage volume is reduced.

In Big Sky, we’ve seen much progress this past year. Last season Big Sky Farmers Market vendors switched to compostable containers and the Town Center added collection bins with service. The Big Sky PBR and Peak to Sky concert were nearly zero-waste events sending almost nothing to the dump by coordinating recycling and composting. And Big Sky Resort added composting to their waste control options with the opening of the refurbished Vista Hall.

Our home service in the area costs $15 per month. We receive a green bucket that we fill over the course of two weeks then place the full bucket outside on the pickup date when it’s swapped for a clean bucket. Combined with recycling, it takes us about a month to fill the regular bear proof residential garbage container.

While home composting to use in your garden is possible in many parts of the country, given the bears and other wildlife in the Big Sky area, it should be avoided. Luckily we now have a service provider.

For local service, contact Karl Johnson at Yes Compost by visiting or calling (406) 219-7011.

Joseph T. O'Connor is the Editor-in-Chief for EBS newspaper and Mountain Outlaw magazine.

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