Transition Mankato

Recycling Group: Full Circle Organics Tour

February 21, 2014 by Mike Ferguson | 0 comments

The tour of Full Circle Compost in Good Thunder was, in my humble opinion, the most exciting trip we have made. Our tour guide was Max Milinkovich, the President of Full Circle.  Full Circle collects both yard waste and food scraps from companies, restaurants, institutions and apartment complexes. They have very reasonable rates, $25 to $35 a month for twice weekly pick-ups. That cost is half the rate the landfill would charge to take compostable waste and there is no tax. Full Circle has two grades of compost:  High quality containing no contaminates for use on edible gardens and lower quality contaminated compost for use on non-edible areas.

The food scraps and paper waste are dumped in their building and moistened with water.  The water is discharged through a PCP pipe and metered to measure the amount used. The building has a bio filter fan that blows air through two filters to mix air with the compost.  The compost is 2 to 1 or 3 to 1 carbon to nitrogen mix. The carbon sources are wood chips, grass clippings, paper, leaves and 98% liquid. The pile is then moved outside and warms to 130 degrees for 21 days. It is turned 3 times the first week and monitored for temperature. The temperature should not drop lower than 130 or go higher than 160 degrees. If it drops 5 degrees, it needs air so it is turned. If it goes above 160 degrees, it also has to be turned. 140 to 145 degrees is the perfect temperature.

Full Circle has an 80 acre site. The compost piles sit on 6” asphalt pavement and are screened with a 1 1/4 inch screener. One sample analysis is taken for every 1000 yards of compost produced and sent to a lab in California 3 times a year for contaminants testing. Full Circle collects compostables from a number of customers right now:  Some of the area schools, Mom and Pop Ice Cream store, the St. Peter Co-op, River Rock Café, Fillin’ Station, the Coffee Hag, Jake’s Pizza, Papa George, Waseca’s Bird’s Eye Company, Wal-Mart, Hy-Vee and Sam’s Club. They provide the bins for their customers.  Full Circle sells their compost to a biology company that makes barriers and silt fences for erosion control for MnDOT and other construction projects. They also sell compost to gardeners and others who want compost for landscaping lawns and gardens. They have more customers wanting their compost than they can provide right now so they are looking for as much business as they can find to provide them compostable material. Max’s email is and their website is

Solar Air Heat Workshhop

February 17, 2014 by Mike Ferguson | 0 comments

Transition Mankato in partnership with the School Sisters of Notre Dame Center for Earth Spirituality and Rural Ministry, Johnson Center for Environmental Innovation – Gustavus Adolphus College, and  Region 9 Renewable Energy Task Force hosted a DIY Solar Air Heat Workshop.  Professor Jim Dontje (Gustavus) gave a demonstration on building a solar air heater to 95 attendees from the Greater Mankato area.  Many folks in our area have been impacted by the spike in propane prices and other heating costs.  This workshop was created in response to the need for affordable, non carbon based heat and in the name of resilience and community.  We were so pleased to see such a large crowd on what was a very cold night. Lots of new faces and lots of old friends reinforced in us of the power of community. Jim gave a brief presentation and then the group gathered to build a solar air heater to be attached to the exterior of a house (wall or roof).  The estimated cost of constructing the 4’ x 8’ solar heater was $250.  The solar heater constructed by the group could provide adequate heat for a good sized room, and based on fluctuating fuel prices could save you $100 – $250 per year in heating costs. The feedback we received was that this workshop was very informative.  People left feeling empowered and motivated to start building their own solar heaters.  We are looking in to hosting another event similar to this one in the future.  Like us on Facebook (Transition Mankato, MN) to be notified of future workshops and events.  And feel free to leave us your feedback!