KAYAK Composting: A Greener Future

KAYAK and Elements Mountain Compost:
Pioneering Sustainable Waste Solutions in Salida

At KAYAK by 12 Peaks Farms, we are honored to work with Elements Mountain Compost, a local composting company that has been helping businesses like ours literally turn trash into treasure. By working with them, we’re able 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

Founded in 2014 as a small-scale operation, Elements Mountain Compost was created by founder Julie Mach’s vision 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.

Synergy with 12 Peaks Farms

KAYAK and 12 Peaks Farms began 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 and 12 Peaks Farms, we use a mixture of perlite and coco coir, which is the natural hairlike fibers extracted from the outer husk of coconut, as a growing medium for our cannabis. The leftover root balls containing this mixture were once accumulating on the grow property. However, Elements Mountain Compost ingeniously found a way to process and recycle these root balls, creating 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, not only for 12 Peaks Farms and KAYAK but also for the entire community. Together, we’re leading the charge in sustainable waste solutions, and setting an example for others to follow. As we continue to grow, we envision a greener future where waste is minimized, resources are optimized and the environment thrives. Join us on this journey toward a more sustainable tomorrow!


[i] https://www.epa.gov/gmi/importance-methane#:~:text=Methane%20is%20the%20second%20most,trapping%20heat%20in%20the%20atmosphere.

[ii] https://cleantechnica.com/2023/05/22/what-you-need-to-know-about-composting/#:~:text=The%20EPA%20has%20estimated%20that,digesting%20(AD)%20those%20materials%3F