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 firstname.lastname@example.org and their website is www.fullcircle-organics.com