Compost2020: Looking Back and Looking Ahead

Last week I headed to Charleston, South Carolina, to Compost2020, where I had the honor of being selected as a speaker. Put on by the U.S. Composting Council, Compost2020 is the industry’s preeminent composting conference and trade show, featuring trends, issues, and new thinking around organics recycling and composting.

As a Waste Diversion Manager and the Organics Recycling Lead at Rubicon®, I work with businesses of all sizes to help design, implement, and manage organics recycling programs across North America and beyond.

Here is a brief overview of my Compost2020 presentation, as well as my takeaways from the conference.

My Compost2020 Presentation

My presentation at Compost2020 looked at how Rubicon ensures food waste goes to the highest possible use in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Food Recovery Hierarchy, the importance of depackaging wasted food, as well as Rubicon’s role in providing a comprehensive solution for your company’s sustainability needs.

I was thrilled by the turnout at my presentation, as well as by the kind comments I received from audience members after the fact. Before I move on to my takeaways from Compost2020, I’d first like to give a quick shoutout to Nora Goldstein from BioCycle, and Scott Jenkins of Mercedes-Benz Stadium for your kind words regarding my presentation, and also to Joseph McMillin, Gary Nihart, Jorge Montezuma, Leslie Rodgers, and Jim Davis from Atlas Organics out of South Carolina, Anna DeLage from the South Carolina Department of Commerce, and fellow B-Corps Natural Organic Process Enterprises (NOPE) out of Virginia, and Eco-Products from Colorado for their teamwork and collaboration during the conference itself.

Takeaways from Compost2020

I’ve written about compostable food service ware many times in the past, most recently in a wide-reaching op-ed article for Waste Dive.

I noted in my Waste Dive piece that while compostable food service ware has its challenges, we should not give up on it. After attending Compost2020, I feel even more strongly about this sentiment. At Rubicon, we help to compost organics and compostable food service ware for restaurants, grocery stores, and other types of businesses. Until reusables have been adopted across the globe, how are we going to move forward with food service ware and packaging unless certified compostables are part of the solution?

Pierce Lewis of Dirt Hugger gave a fantastic session about contamination, which is another huge challenge in the organics recycling industry. Looking into the specifics of how to fight contamination at compost facilities, Pierce provided valuable insight for keeping non-compostable materials out of composting systems, which is essential in order to ensure the continued quality of the finished product and the effectiveness of this method of food waste diversion.

I had a great time presenting and meeting up with friends, old and new, at Compost2020. Many thanks to everyone who stopped by to watch my presentation, who spoke with me afterward, and who I spent time with at the conference.

If you would like to learn more about Rubicon’s organics recycling offering, reach out to me any time at ryan.cooper@rubiconglobal.com.


Ryan Cooper is a Waste Diversion Manager and the Organics Recycling Lead at Rubicon. To stay ahead of Rubicon’s announcements of new partnerships and collaborations around the world, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, or contact us today.

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