KAYAK and Elements Mountain Compost:
Let’s Talk Trash—and Make Less of it!
At KAYAK, composting is a top priority. We’re honored to work with Elements Mountain Compost, a local composting company that helps businesses like ours literally turn trash into treasure. Composting allows us to make a significant impact on waste diversion and sustainability, while providing nutrient-rich compost for gardeners and small agricultural businesses in the Salida community.
The Beginnings of Elements Mountain Compost
Elements Mountain Compost was started in 2014 by founder Julie Mach, who wanted to address the growing need for organic waste diversion in our area. Initially composting at home, she quickly outgrew her compost system and knew others in the community likely were as well. Heat is key to proper compost. Larger compost piles generate more heat through the decomposition process and provide their own insulation to retain the heat during colder months. Fueled by a passion for sustainability and a determination to make it work, Julie began collaborating with local businesses, including the hospital, area grocery stores and coffee shops, to compost their food waste. They also offer a residential drop-off program that services around two hundred households in Salida.
KAYAK Composting: The Beginning
KAYAK composting began when we started working with Elements Mountain Compost in 2022 with the goal to divert green waste generated by our operations away from landfills. We provide our shredded stalks, stems and leaves as composting material that is then mixed into the food waste collected by Elements Mountain Compost. This creates a well-balanced and versatile compost that benefits various applications.
From Waste to Resource
Once the compost is ready, Elements Mountain Compost sifts out larger portions of waste that hasn’t fully decomposed. The high-quality compost is then sold back to the community, benefiting residential gardeners and small agricultural businesses, including a local farm-to-table restaurant and the school garden.
Reducing Waste and Methane Emissions
Through this collaboration, we have successfully diverted approximately 160 cubic yards—about eighty tons—of organic green waste from the landfill. We are on track to divert about sixty tons a year. Why is this so important? Organic matter in a landfill produces methane gas, the second-largest contributor to the greenhouse gas problem. Methane is also twenty-five times as potent as the top contributor, carbon dioxide, at trapping heat in the atmosphere.[i] By composting this material instead, we significantly reduce our methane emissions. In fact, the EPA estimates that composting can achieve a 95-percent methane reduction efficiency when compared to landfilling organic waste.[ii]
Root Ball Recycling: Minimizing Even More Waste
At KAYAK, we use a mixture of perlite and coco coir, the natural hair-like fibers from the outer husk of coconut, as a growing medium for our cannabis. The leftover root balls with this mixture were once accumulating on the grow property. Now, Elements Mountain Compost processes and recycles these root balls. This creates a rich mixture that aerates the soil and retains water. By again transforming waste into a resource, we’re making a positive impact on our environment.
A Green Future Together
Our partnership with Elements Mountain Compost has been transformative, for KAYAK and the entire community. Together, we’re leading the charge in sustainable waste solutions, and setting an example for others to follow. As we grow, we envision a greener future where we minimize waste, optimize resources and help the environment thrive. Join us on this journey toward a more sustainable tomorrow!