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249. Java’s Compost “Designed for Easy”| Java Bradley | Northeast NJ

Java from Java's Compost soil
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I am thrilled to introduce my featured guest today on a webinar by John Lee Dumas and the guy hosting the webinar wanted a business example and she explained she sold compost tumblers and I was able to connect with her and today here is her husband Java from Java’s Compost!

 

Tell us a little about yourself.

I live in the NE my wife and I and our 3 children

NE region of NJ

we own a little company called Java’s compost

Java’s Compost Service

we basically offer 2 services

one is a do it yourself option

basically the do it yourself option

we have a starter kit

set up

a set of items that a backyard or home composter might want

keep things simple

We want to set up a system for people. A lot of times when your steps are not clear, its easy to get in your compositing efforts. At some point the system breaks down

The system

includes a tumbler

includes a square rectangle shaped bucket that its easily in the sink or a corner or someplace

and a counter top

all optional

if someone says, I have a composter already in the backyard, we will work with whatever system they have or whatever they want

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Compost Orientation

Also, we have an option for an orientation where we go over the

dos and don’ts in your backyard

what can you compost

what are the important steps

the recipe

so people are well educated or better educated

they know what whatever happens you can always remedy your system

Things that can come up can be

smell or pests

dy

full

I love this because one I am building a garden course, and I feel like the first step is building compost and people are like ick, no, but I love the orientation idea I think you should have a compost orientation webinar.

Java's Compost Teaching at Night

Compost Orientation Webinar: we have been talking about for a while

how can we digitize this whole thing where we have the resources that we make available for a broader audience

strategies

techniques

etc

we haven’t had time to get around to it,

definitely

god willing

Tell me about your first gardening experience?

Well you know interestingly I don’t have a ton of gardening experience, but my first exposure was as a small boy. I grew up in San Francisco CA I was about 15, w

when I was about 4-5 years old we had this backyard area

my mother when she was in her late teens lived on a farming commune in West VA

She picked up some farm-gardening experience and she decided to plant some simple vegetables

go out there occasionally

I don’t remember specifically what she grew tomatoes or anything

I thought this is pretty neat, I remember I didn’t know you could grow food in your backyard. Most kids grow up and think you get food at your local market

That was my first exposure.

We had some family friends in northern California, and they had a small homestead, and that was a very powerful experience

I think we only went up there once or twice but it left a lasting impression

animals they were managing

They were doing all the things a homestead does

churning their own butter

cream

do those things

gardening

basic animal husbandry

the beauty

magical most of that

really stuck with me

Over the course of time, it’s been mostly circumstances or time that has allowed us to do some gardening, or prevented us from doing as much as we like

Those are  my early experiences  to growing your own food and a little bit of self sufficiency

To be perfectly honest, I still feel like I am about as close to doing all of that as I was when I was 5-6, as far as being able to spend chunk of time doing any of these things

that is our hope to do more of that in the future

We did have some time, when we lived in a different town and the kids were  much younger

 

Java's Compost Kids in Compost

joined the community garden

having

bring my boys down there

manage my plot

when everything was really popping

beets were coming up

string beans

cabbage

tomatoes

all these beautiful things.

magic of seeing that stuff on your kitchen table

everybody was impacted

new town we haven’t been able to start it yet, but again, god willing we will be able to that’s one of our goals.

But what I love about that is you’re actually talking about exactly what I think is important that even though you’re not ready to garden now, you’re figuring out the compost part before you get to garden.

I’m trying really hard not to interrupt because I was actually interviewed the other day and realized what people are talking about.

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so the full service where we provide the same kit,

you get

  • a tumbler
  • a bucket
  • bin

we take care of the composting

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the only thing the family does if they want the full service option is they scrape their plates and clean out their fridges , whatever they are doing in the bucket we provide them

That bucket is put out once a week similar to their garbage, and we bring it around back on their property, and manage everything on their property and they get 100 of the finished material with minimal work. That’s the full service option

you can get a significant amount of material that way.

Full service

  • a tumbler
  • a bucket
  • bin
  • we take care of the composting
  • manage everything on their property
  • they get 100 of the finished material with minimal work.

4-5 member family

You’re producing upwards of 5 gallons or more a week, you’re filling up your bucket to the top

that’s over a 1000 lbs of food scraps every year for that family

you break it down

ends up being somewhere between

200-250 lbs of composting material per person

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which is actually the EPA average that they have listed on their website

for food waste per person

When we’ve done data collection we come up just about their number

@241 lbs per person

our numbers come up about the same.

so you can get a lot of material

In the end you come up anywhere between 5-6-700 lbs of material a family would have at their disposal

they can put compost material on their

  • vegetable garden
  • landscaping
  • lawn application

we can do that as well

landscaping application

do that as well

I wish you were here, my mom’s neighbors could use that. Your pictures are so gorgeous and the things are clean

Do you mix it in with grass clippings etc? Leaves, how does that work?

what we

the tumbler that we use fro the most part

Jora form composter

that the manufacturers recommended carbon input or dry material is wood pellets

used for horse bedding

it’s a soft wood, I believe it’s pine

collected at lumber yards

from the sawdust

pelletize it

incredibly effective

very efficient

that’s the carbon input that we put in to every batch that we put into the composters

Every week this is what we do

this is what we tell the diy customers

work out your ratios before hand,

fill up the first fraction of the bucket

1/4 or 1/5 of the way with the wood pellets

that changes the ratio, typically you look on line, you do some reading

if you look online the ratio is typically 2-3 one

dry to wet

browns to greens

you typically have more of your carbon rich material then your nitrogen rich

because it’s pelletized

but when you’re using the wood pellets

moisture it expands

In the brochure, it says something like,

carbon-nitrogen

dry-wet it’s only 1-10 when you’re using the wood pellets which is a significant reversal the extreme

normal carbon material that you put in

it expands a lot typically we don’t go with 1-10 we go with 1-4 or 1-5

we have found that when a family is just starting out we encourage them to use more then less, start out with 25% of your bucket with wood pellets for the first two weeks

2nd two weeks so 20%

then scale back you can use less and less, so you are dealing with smaller ratios

once you get a good healthy

that will help element odors sand pests etc.

very effective way of managing your compost bins

wood chips in our own composting efforts over the years we have used a mix of wood chips and pellets

years ago we would save up our paper bags from local grocery store

every couple of weeks, I would go through and spend 12 hour 40 minutes, shredding paper bags and adding that to the compost bin but when you have a ready supply of wood chips or pellets it makes it easier to manage the labor you have to put into

only down part

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the more labor intensive dry material

more

the free dry material

  • paper bags
  • junk mail

more labor intensive

super simple material requires a little more to access you either have to find a

  • tree guy
  • neighbor who just took a tree down,
  • wood chips
  • tree taken down
  • or pay for wood pellets

pros and cons and all the different options

a lot of times

different carbon sources and components

all the options

in this day and age

people are so busy they just go with the one that’s simplest

least amount of labor

as you said earlier or maybe it was on your website, they’re already buying this and spending money on it.

do you want to tell people what it looks like? Because I’ve been to the website and seen it.

dEsigned in Sweden but it’s manufactured in China, around 1992?1994

There was some claim to them being the first or if not the first

the original tumbler

whether they were one of the first or just t created a really nice version

it s a very

created a really nice version

nice looking piece of equipment

  • galvanized steel
  • weather resistant paint
  • olive green color
  • insulation

styrofoam ~ polyethylene=food grade styrofoam

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not polystyrene is the stuff outlawed in CA for use n outlawed for use with food materials

not a harmful material

in terms of the design

it’s simple to manage

the turn on it is super easy

used many different types of tumblers

old tumblers

difference between these different models

there’s so many ways to compost

different tumblers on the market

utilizing whatever tumbler option

whether it’s a cost factor

preference for one system over another

it had really great reviews when you looked online

gardeners

backyard gardeners were raving what they were getting from it

really high temps

calming

depending on the season

wasn’t completely dependent on being in direct sunlight

most people probably know this

heat generated in the compost pile is not from sunshine but

is from within

do to the micro-biology in large part

I think

I want to make sure I’m still on question.

many people might not know the biology of a compost pile and I like the way on your website it shows all these pictures

what comes out of it

open design, don’t have to bend

and ti looks like there’s a

designed for easy

that’s why we opted to get the JoraForm tumbler

It looks like it has 2 compartments ~ how does that work

we had in our backyard we had 2

what we had done prior

we had two tumblers

when you get one tumbler

most people know you’re just filing it filling ~ filling ~ filling

when do I use this stuff

man having to sort through to get some handfuls

we had two so we could fill it up

we would close it and keep turning it and start filling

it has 2 compartments build in

that allows you in terms of the compost

allows you to do the same thing

fill up one compartment

filling up the other one

both chambers are always getting turned

constantly feeding the chamber

getting oxygen in there to fuel the bacterial population that is breaking down all that organic matter

it’s all metal

industrial grade plastic

most common tumbler

people will find after about 2-3 years

materials start to separate

locks will start to come

hinges will start to separate

deteriorate

make repairs on these things

repairs are not that easy

handier then others

metal on metal

same

start

hardware and latches don’t start pulling away

hold up well over time

again

it’s not the

you could always say if there’s one system that’s perfect

you know in terms of urban and suburban

how much organic material

close to 50%

in our country is compostable

roughly

20-30% is just food

a lot of material out there that is

organic

will break down

will provide food for bacteria

that will then provide a material that will enrich our soils

in our homes

flowing through our homes and day-to-day routines

lifestyle ways

rerouting those waste streams

they’re not wasted

phrases

don’t waste your waste

don’t even like to call food scraps waste

i agree

it’s not a waste

not garbage

incredible resource that

nature of food

organic material

whatever is wasted is not meant to put into a system

doesn’t get to break down and feed into the soil again

I understand the creator made organic material so that there isn’t waste

food scraps into

won’t break down in a few lifetimes

that’s not where your’e gonna get

the finished material that your’e supposed to

is going to require a change

rich resource

retraining ourselves to think of our food scraps

the way we think of regular recycling

everybody knows to put your specific plastics

know to put certain plastic recycling bins

years and years where it became second nature

don’t even think twice

in terms of organics

I think obviously people are talking about

backyard gardeners are thinking bout this forever

environmental impact of our habits becomes more well known

commonly wasted in terms of organics in terms of your own products

municipally sponsored pick up service

as society and plane

people are

in a better position adjust cents in our willingness

get our

so what we found out when speaking to a couple of municipality

there are regulations that prevent from 3rd party

organics

can’t cross lines

everything you generate on your property

has to go to the garbage hauler

has to be brought to a licensed facility

landfill or licensed composting facility

organic food scraps

different then yard debris

  • grass
  • leaves

etc

we don’t have a lot of composting commercial options here

only have one in the state that is creating finished compost

another one that is really a waste treatment plant

they’re working with some towns on a pilot program to reroute their organics

wastewater management system

with the communal composting option

when we spoke to the mayors or representatives

it would be ok if you had a shared composting unit

talk to NJ DEP

locally decided issue

we have a 100 gallon

106 gallon composter

capacity is significantly

3 families pretty aggressive with their composting

town we talked to said that would be fine.

It’s a fantastic option

I think what you’re hinting at

You might have one person who is very experienced and confident and then have a couple of other families who really believe in it but just are not as confident

need a little help

we offer it as both as a diy option

assemble tumblers and deliver them

take the different families

how best to manage their shared unit

it also fits into our full service as well

Unfortunately nobody’s taken us up on it yet, we’ve had a few people who have kind of looked into but it does require people being on the same page

because you do have rotting food and you need to have a responsibility to make sure that it’s being taken care of

you’ve got the help that you think you might need

great option

local town tbat

environmental committee and there were some people in that audience already doing something similar to that

perhaps not as aggressive

help people assemble 100% of food scraps

upwards of 3000 lbs in a year

probably almost 2000 lbs of finished compost a year that those 3 families can draw from for whatever purposes

donate to community garden

lawns

vegetable gardenes

We have it there and up on our website because we want people to consider it and it helps shares the responsibility

you also have one for schools right?

That’s the same one that would be helpful shared unit

We set up schools and after school programs

they have a much higher capacity.

Its a great opportunity for kids to get involved in both situations

We had a local charter school, because they have 2 of them recently, we had an opportunity to

meet with their science department

composting initiative into their curriculum

talk about some of the ways they could do that

meet with their facilities person

these have a greater capacity

We have a local community center

  • classes
  • serve snacks in the afternoon
  • kids there

waste from all he foods that are being handed out

large units were using it quite a bit.

really used quite a bit

We want people to consider these

We have talked to a number of small cafes, and stuff like that but in NJ difficult with the regulations

  • some limits
  • as things begin to change we could have
  • local bakeries
  • small restaurants

composting all their own material and doing some great stuff with it but currently you have have to use all the finished material on the premises of your business. There is not a lot of real estate in some of these places.

It’s very challenging

There are one or 2 exemptions you can apply for

But so far it’s been a little bit more challenging then I think some business owners want it to be

So there hasn’t been a lot of traction there, there has been a huge amount of interest you have to jump through,

We are also trying to work with people to explore ways that some of the regulations

could be modified

like small restaurants and cafes

Can I ask a questions. You said your goal was to collect 100% of your food waste but there are things you can’t put in these right? Like dairy, butter etc.

It depends on the system that you are going to use some people are just throwing stuff in a pile

throwing stuff in a pile

  • dairy
  • fat
  • protein
  • meats

These things take a longer time to break down then your fruits and vegetables

That means an odor is going to linger if it is not well taken care of

The truth is and most people know this if you have a poorly managed compost pile of just fruit and vegetables it’s gonna get really bad

then it’s more like decaying food it’s not really composting

it’s all decaying

one is an anaerobic environment

it’s a different set of bacteria it’s a slower process

it’s cooler

also produces these offensive odors to humans

but to

  • raccoons
  • rats
  • dogs

they love it

What we try to tell people, if you are willing to make sure your pile is managed well,

anything that was a living organism can be composted, that includes

  • meats
  • dairies
  • fats

for those people that eat meat, things that are left over

that is all biodigradeable and will be broken down  by the micro-biology

The same tips that you use for creating a good compost pile that’s just fruits and vegetables

same steps you need if it takes dairy and fats.

You want to make sure they are in small pieces

Can’t just throw out a rotten steak,

1/4-1/2 pound of rotten meat

you will end up attracting flies and all the rest

If you cut it down as if you were preparing a stir fry or something like that

mix it in

other food scraps, dry material

that’s one of the most important parts is making sure you have an adequate supply of carbon rich material and an

oxygen rich environment

That’s really the key

Are you cutting up the material small enough

cheeses

yogurt

small enough in it’s  portions

mixed inwell enough with the dry material

turned

no oxygen

it’s going to be a terrible smelly mess

it’s

not because it’s got meat

there’s cheese

not enough oxygen

and carbon rich material

we’ve learned how to manage that and the importance of

making sure you have an adequate material, we tend to be pretty aggressive with carbon input

buckets have a good portion of carbon rich material in it.

Whether it’s

  • wood chips
  • wood pellets

put them in their beginining

absorbs the moisture

mitigates odor in your kitchen

carbon input when you dump it

makes cleaning out the bucket easier

we say 100%

you don’t have to

it’s totally up to you

we try to help people the reason for the precautions are commonly put out there by backyard composting information resources

They’re there for a good reason because a lot of time people don’t put the effort into taking care of their compost pile

There are options

there is a way to recycle all of it!

Are there any things we didn’t touch on or we missed?

Not necessarily no, it’s

I think we’re very excited that composting is becoming a much more familiar idea many more people then are willing and interested and learning about it and trying it out

can see

it’s not as difficult as you might think

It’s not as difficult

there’s always a way to remedy a bad pile

just a chemistry issue

bad smells

if you see there’s a pest issue there is always a way to get it back to you know where you want

How do we connect with you?

so we have a Facebook page

javascompost.com

may have an Instagram

Currently based in NJ in the NE area but that’s how you get in touch with us.

I love now instagram came up with Instagram TV came up with a way to videos up to 10 minutes and it’s so much easier then youtube, or I think so

Thanks so much for sharing with us, and helping care for our schools and students it’s so obvious looking on your website how much your doing to help our

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About the author, Jackie Marie

I'm an artist and educator. I live at the "Organic Oasis" with my husband Mike where we practice earth friendly techniques in our garden nestled in the mountains of Montana.

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