Green Living: A Business that Makes Good Food for Your Garden
Japanese Salad Turnips
American Composting, Inc., (ACI) located in North Little Rock, takes materials that might normally be put into landfills and turns them into compost, mulch and soil blends. Founded in 1991, this organics recycler — the largest in Arkansas — counts local nurseries, landscaping firms, horticulturists, master gardeners and the general public as clients.
AY contacted James R. Willits, the owner and president of ACI, for the scoop on his green business, which he said, “benefits all Arkansans.”
AY: Why did you establish your business? Was there a void in the composting and recycling market in central Arkansas?
Willits: There was no composting in central Arkansas. The main reason for starting ACI was that around the early ’90s, we got wind of a bill by then-Gov. Bill Clinton to implement a ban on green waste going into landfills. It was our idea to be the alternative for that green waste.
AY: How did you come up with your slogan, “Man and Nature Working Together”? What does that mean, in your own words?
Willits: Decomposition is a natural process. Nature has been doing this since creation, and man has to work within the natural decomposition of waste. I felt the slogan “Man and Nature” was the best fit because it describes exactly what we set out to do and what I believe we have accomplished.
AY: What makes your compost, soil and mulch better than that a person could buy at a major chain store?
Willits: We implement a full composting process in which we digest the feedstock so that it is 1) sterile of any foreign weed seeds and 2) has the most beneficial nutrient loading in the finished compost.
AY: Tell me about your recycling services. What’s different from the recycling services and the organic waste disposal services? What do you do with your recycled matter?
Willits: We take all organic waste and build a menu for composting. We try to find a beneficial reuse for any non-organic waste.
AY: What can’t be recycled?
Willits: Non-organic waste cannot be recycled through composting.
AY: Are you still the largest organics recycler in the state of Arkansas?
Willits: Yes. We are the largest Type O composting facility in Arkansas (Type O means multiple organic waste streams, which include food waste, green waste and biosolids).
AY: How can your disposal and recycling clients save money on waste management by using your services?
Willits: Our services 1) extend the life of a landfill; 2) meet criteria of beneficial reuse; and 3) we make an environmentally-friendly product.
AY: Do you have any more statistics on what sort of environmental impact you’re making on the state of Arkansas, i.e. how much space is not being taken up in a landfill thanks to your recycling services?
Willits: Based on our volumes of green waste for the 2011 calendar year, which is approximately 250,000 cubic yards of green waste, multiplied by how many years we have been doing this (about 20 years) . . . you have an approximate idea of the impact ACI has made on the state of Arkansas with regards to diverting the green waste that would have been landfilled. It’s a product that benefits all Arkansans.
AY: Who should be using your services that isn’t ?
Willits: Anyone who is producing yard waste, cellulose-based material and continues to dispose of it at a landfill.
Looking for supplies for your garden? Visit americancomposting.com for a list of locations in that carry ACI’s products.