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Student-Run Curbside Composting Program Expands Into Pasadena

Published on Friday, July 9, 2021 | 9:43 am

A student-run nonprofit organization that has been collecting organic waste curbside in South Pasadena and San Marino for composting is now expanding its program into Pasadena, organizers said.

Compost Culture was founded last year with the goal of keeping organic waste, such as garden trimmings and food scraps, out of landfills, where it releases the greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere as it breaks down, representatives said.

For a monthly fee of $15, the group picks up organic waste at customers’ homes and brings it to The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino for composting, CEO and co-founder Liam de Villa said.

Members also collect compost without charge at a regular booth at the South Pasadena Farmers Market, as well as distribute free compost monthly, he added. Members also provide educational presentations at Southland Schools.

“Normally a lot of food scraps end up in landfills and that creates methane emissions, which we all know is bad for the environment,” de Villa said.

On the heels of successful program expansion in South Pasadena and San Marino, Compost Culture is now setting its sights on Pasadena.

“The reason we selected Pasadena is that we think Pasadena has a target audience of people who definitely want to help the environment, people who are conscious of the environment and people who might not want to, but might not know how to, achieve that goal,” according to de Villa.

The organization began after student founders received a $5,000 grant from The Dragon Kim Foundation, he said.

“We started running it in June of 2020 and it sort of got pretty big,” de Villa said. “We were fortunate enough to win a second grant of $5,000. Through all of that, we also raised donations. That’s essentially how we keep our services afloat.”

In addition to reducing organic waste in landfills, the group also strives to foster “a culture of sustainability,” in general, he added.

“We continue to be motivated to run it because we have the support, and we think that we have a lot of potential to actually have an impact,” de Villa said.

“We help the environment by reducing methane emissions, but what’s incredibly important about supporting Compost Culture, getting involved, is that you contribute to a community that we can form where people feel inclined to be more environmentally conscious and feel that they have the ability to actually have an impact and become more educated about these environmental issues,” he said.

More information on Compost Culture is available on the group’s website at

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