EcoScraps founders
EcoScraps CEO Dan Blake and co-founder Craig Martineau.

“Making compost is like cooking. You can have 10 people make the same dish from the same recipe but they won’t all taste the same. We like to think of making compost as an art form.”—Dan Blake, CEO of EcoScraps

You could say Dan Blake made his fortune on dirt. As a college kid at Brigham Young University marveling at the wastefulness of an all-you-can-eat French toast special at a local restaurant, Blake had an epiphany.

“I went back for a second serving after hastily eating the first plate, but ended up throwing away almost all of it. That was sort of the light bulb moment. I wondered what happened to all of that waste (from myself and the other patrons) and once I started researching food waste in America, I realized there was an opportunity,” says Blake, who grew up helping out in the family garden each summer.

Why not turn waste into dollar signs, thought Blake? After much trial and error (lesson learned: baked goods and Chinese food make terrible compost), at the tender age of 23 Blake launched EcoScraps which turns food waste into useful compost. Today the company sources more than 10,000 tons of food waste annually from businesses including Costco, Target and grocery stores close to the EcoScraps facilities in Utah, Arizona, California, Oregon, Texas and Tennessee. The company is doing its part to reduce the 30 million tons of food waste in America each year — half of all the food produced. EcoScraps' compost and potting mix, liquid compost and plant food are available online and at Target stores nationwide and many Lowe's, Home Depot, Sam's Club and Costco locations. Find your local retailer here.

Why Compost? Blake Offers Three Good Reasons:

  • Compost delivers a balanced blend of nutrients plants need to grow.
  • Unlike fertilizers, which act quickly and can burn plants, compost is gentle and slow to release.
  • Compost adds organic matter to your soil which allows for more oxygen penetration and greater water retention.
EcoScraps Compost
The EcoScraps company transforms bulk food waste into usable compost.

Dan's Tips for the Home Composter

  • Good compost starts by increasing the surface area of what you are composting– meaning you should chop everything up as much as you can.
  • A big difference between rotting and composting is the temperature at which it takes place; you want your compost pile to be hot (120 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • If your compost pile is less than 3ft x 3 ft x 3ft it will not get hot enough unless it is in some sort of heat absorbent container (like a metal garbage can etc.).
  • The ideal carbon to nitrogen ratio is 30:1. Carbons are your “brown” materials (leaves, newspaper, twigs, etc. — these are typically dry) and nitrogen is found in your “green” material (food, grass, etc. –  these are typically wet).
  • Layer your pile brown, green, brown, green etc. (it is like making lasagna).
  • The compost pile needs to be moist. Here is an easy home test for your moisture content: Grab a handful of compost and squeeze it. If water squeezes from it and drips from your hand it is too wet.  If it doesn’t drip, but keeps it shape when poked it is good to go. If it falls apart when poked it is too dry and will need to be watered. If your pile smells like ammonia and is leaking, then it is probably too wet — I’d suggest adding some carbon additives like dry leaves to solve the problem.
  • Your pile needs to breathe. Make sure you turn it frequently. If it smells bad you need to turn it more. But don’t worry, if you don’t turn your piles they will still decompose, it will just take a little longer.
  • How do you know if your compost is finished? A quick test to see if the compost is ready is to take a handful and seal it in a baggie for 48-72 hours. Open it, if it smells like dirt, it’s ready to go; otherwise the pile will need longer to sit and mature.

EcoScraps is giving readers a chance to try EcoScraps compost in their garden with a giveaway! Five winners will be chosen at random to receive $50 worth of EcoScraps compost delivered right to their front door. Simply leave a comment on this post and tell us what's growing in your garden this spring and you’ll be entered to win. That's it! Winners will be selected on April 22 (Earth Day!) and contacted by EcoScraps via email. Good luck!

No purchase necessary. Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and D.C., age 21 or older. Void where prohibited. Odds of winning depend on number of entries received.  Sweepstakes ends at 5:00 p.m. ET on April 21, 2013. For full official rules, visit Sponsored by EcoScraps, LLC, 1675 North Freedom Blvd., Suite 2C, Provo, UT 84604.

52 Comments About this Article

  • Linda McDonald McCartney
    No real garden yet, you know how it's been in Northern Utah this year. The rhubarb, garlic, and mint are beginning to make themselves known, but must do some serious weeding and soil conditioning SOON!!!

    Posted 2 years ago

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  • Zeb Acuff
    I'm sure our Green Zebra and Golden Girl tomatoes; Yolo bell peppers; habañero, serrano, and jalapeño chiles; Marketmore cukes; and burgundy onions would love some EcoScraps compost to grow big and strong! Not to mention the carrots, radishes, squash, broccoli, pole beans, and various herbs!

    Posted 2 years ago

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  • Dale Dahlberg
    We grow tomatoes and peppers, but going to add some herbs to mix this year. Haven't mastered the South Florida growing season yet.

    Posted 2 years ago

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  • Teresa
    Hi! So far, I have squash, eggplant, pumpkins, and cucumbers. My herbs are parsley, chives, and basil.

    Posted 2 years ago

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  • Summer Dirisu
    I am starting my very first garden ever this year. I am growing tomatoes, lettuce, sweet peppers, potatoes, basil, rosemary, and other herbs. I was actually inspired by hgtv because watching the shows I have grown to believe anything is possible, no matter how much space you have. I look forward to eating fresh veggies this year. I would also love to try the EcoScraps because I have heard great things about it.

    Posted 2 years ago

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  • Barbara Faust
    First off, "Thank you" for brainstorming and creating such a wonderful and useful way to re use in our society. A tremendous example for all interested in gardening a better way. I utilize square foot gardening and try to encourage others interested in growing atleast something to implement compost into their soil. Composting has been a losing struggle for me, but I purchase and use it in my garden every year. The added nutrients make a positive difference in the grown yield. I plan on using Ecoscraps now that I have found your company and know what is in it and where it comes from.

    Posted 2 years ago

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  • Bobbi Thomas
    Im growing pretty much all the veggie plants I can get my hands on..too many to list...haha. Compost definitely rules in my garden.. I hope to try Ecoscraps soon!

    Posted 2 years ago

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  • Tina Burrows
    Tomatoes, peppers, squash and assorted flowers:)

    Posted 2 years ago

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  • Caitlin Ray
    I have tomatoes, brussel sprouts, buttercruch lettuce, bok choy, celery, beets, spinach, and yellow onions. I'm also trying to make my own compost for the first time! So far, so good!

    Posted 2 years ago

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  • Colby Groneman
    Always have to go with cucumbers, tomatoes, strawberries and aside from those you always have to have good soil to have assorted flowers in the yard.

    Posted 2 years ago

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