FAQ’s   |    You’ve got questions? We’ve got answers.

But, for real, why do we need to compost?

Did you know that improperly disposed of foodstuffs are the single highest producers of the detrimental greenhouse gas methane? Approximately 16% of all methane produced in the US is the byproduct of poorly managed, and entirely compostable food residuals. The Compost Fairy is dedicated to short-circuiting the home-to-landfill pipeline status quo in waste management. By allowing our material to decompose naturally on the surface (not buried deep within a landfill) our process encourages healthy aerobic microbes (the good guys) to break down food into helpful compost. Food in landfills breaks down anaerobically (with the not-so-good-guys) producing leachate, a dangerous chemical cocktail that poisons our groundwater and threatens public health.

What happens after we pick your bucket?

Magic! Your bucket travels by Fairy to our facility where your material is processed and returned to the community (you!), in the form of wonderfully tilthy, nutrient dense, soil-building compost. You’ll receive a fresh bucket every time the Compost Fairy comes for a visit.

Do we have sister organizations in Memphis?

We do! Us Compost Fairies have lots of friends, including Clean Memphis, Project Greenfork, Get Green Recycle Works, Knowledge Quest, The Works, and Neighborhood Preservation, Inc. Go check them out, because they’re all working hard to make Memphis a better place to live. We’re even working on a super exciting project to #recanopymemphis focused on growing our urban tree canopy, and lots of long-term employment opportunities in the sustainability sector right here in Memphis. Learn more here.

Is all the finished compost given back to composters?

Everyone that’s enrolled in our residential and commercial pickup service gets screened, finished compost back at least twice a year. Because our restaurants generally don’t keep up with a forest or a multi-acre lawn, they generally can’t use everything they produce.That’s when they get to choose a local school or community garden to donate their compost to. If you’re an apartment dweller that’s not I love with houseplants, you can do the same. We can’t always promise it, but if you find yourself in need of a little extra, hit us up and we’ll do our best to scare some up for you.

What’s the difference between compost & mulch?

All compost is mulch, but not all mulch is compost. Make sense? No? Well think about it this way: Mulch is a term for any material used in landscaping for erosion control, water retention and/or weed suppression. Compost qualifies for sure, only its way more useful, because it actually feeds your garden while it does all those other things. We’ve never met a pea gravel that will jumpstart your sunflowers in the springtime!

What can I do with the finished compost?

Feed the Earth! No seriously. Decades of terrible land management and chemical-dependent agricultural practice have left our soils in pretty rough shape. Topsoil is disappearing quickly and about 80% of historical soil carbon has found its way up into the atmosphere where it contributes significantly to – you guessed it – climate change. By composting and returning all that carbon-rich humus (that’s nerd talk for compost, because compost isn’t nerdy enough), you are taking a big step towards living those sustainable, Eco-friendly values that we all hold dear. Great job!

Use your compost in the hole to feed that new tree, shrub or perennial (consider native species, please!), use it as a mulch in your veggie patch or flower bed, or add it to potting soil to give your houseplants a much needed kick.

What areas of Memphis do you serve?

Right now, we’re trying to stick close to home base in Midtown (Downtown, Uptown, Orange Mound, and University District will do, too), but there is strength in numbers! If we can create a nucleus in your part of the hinterlands that doesn’t create a Sasquatch-sized carbon footprint, we are at your service. Hit us up, suburbanites. Let’s get it done!

Do I have to pay for my bucket?

Our repurposed 3-gallon bucket is provided free of charge to all our residential pickup subscribers. A 14-gallon roller bin is provided to each restaurant or office enrolled in our commercial pickup service. Our friends that drop their compost at the Cooper-Young Farmer’s Market on Saturdays from 9:00AM to 1:00PM are welcome to bring their own container, or buy one of the fancy-fabulous Compost Fairy buckets for sale in our Swag section!

Do I have to use your bucket?

If you have a special relationship (no judgement) with your own personal compost bucket, then by all means proceed, you lovebirds! Just make sure it’s clearly identified and we know where to find it. Remember that it’ll need a friend so we can clean it up for you and return it on our next visit.

Is this smelly? Messy?

Compostables get a bad rap in the nose department. Smells like future-plant-food to us! That being said, we come by once a week to nip those undesirable odoriferous emanations right in the bud. If your sniffer is particularly fine-tuned and easily offended, we’ll work out a schedule that won’t leave you making an onion face every time you feed your bucket.