Scottsdale woman starts drive for composting

Scottsdale resident Lauren Click creates buckets of compost, complete with worms she raises. (David Minton/Progress Staff Photographer)

Lauren Click has never been a fan of seeing waste dumped in a landfill or on the ground. 

In early 2021 Click was part of a large cleanup project behind her apartment complex at The Halsten at Chauncey Lane near Scottsdale Road and Loop 101 and although she has since relocated to McCormick Ranch, her efforts to properly dispose of trash have not ceased. 

Click began researching composting and purchased a high-dollar composting machine but then realized there was a cheaper alternative to handling food waste. 

She discovered that the same result could be achieved with an old trash can, some newspapers, leaves, mulch, dirt and – most importantly – worms. 

“After getting the bin and doing it for about six months, I said, ‘why have I been paying for these things when I can do it out of a free bucket that I could find on the side of the road and $5 worms from PetSmart or free from a community garden?” 

The composts work best with two bins, with the second used to collect any seeping water or waste. 

From there, she drilled holes in the bottom of one bucket and stuffed it with her worm habitat before disposing of eggshells, stale toast, cardboard, banana peels and other biodegradable wastes in the bins. 

After seeing success from her compost, Click wanted to spread the word. 

“I saw like the gap in the market and I didn’t want to see people getting screwed over for having to spend $100 to $300 thinking that’s what they need to compost when it’s relatively free and shouldn’t be such a commodity.” 

Click began spreading the word to her sister and the trend caught on in her community. 

Although there were several misconceptions about composting –the biggest being that it would create a pungent smell – Click said that when done right, her composts have been odorless. 

“If you have the right mix of browns and greens, as they like to say will be completely odorless,” Click said. 

She also noted that she eliminated the issues of having to keep her dogs out of the trash and taking out the trash frequently. 

“I love not having to take the trash out as much. I love that my dogs are trying to get in the trash because there are no food scraps in there,” Click said. 

Following her success came requests from her neighbors to try out her composting methods. 

Because of her soaring demand, Click began reaching out to businesses to take their excess bins off their hands. 

She was able to score some excess bins from Crumbl cookies off of Hayden Road and McCormick Parkway, PIEfection on the corner of 90th street and Via Linda and the Safeway grocery store off of Chaparral Road and Hayden Road. 

However, Click still doesn’t have enough bins to accommodate the 50 people she currently has on a waiting list to receive their free composters. 

So, she is searching for more businesses to donate discarded bins to her efforts to promote composting. 

“I’ve been calling around and trying to get more donors to donate regularly,” Click said. 

Despite having success with grocery stores she still has a growing list of neighbors interested in composting. 

“I’d like love to get more support there from people who maybe work at a cafe and just want to start collecting buckets that I can pick up once a month,” Click said. 

Although she mostly wants to find more buckets to give out, Click also wants to create a community project similar to the Free Library and Phoenix Plant Stand movements. in which the community rallies around a cause and the cause almost becomes self-sustaining with the number of people that contribute to it. 

Click also said she is in the process of filing for nonprofit status for her organization, Let’s Go Compost, so that she could give patrons a tax-deductible receipt for their donation of buckets. 

“My goal is to be able to offer that incentive to major corporations in addition to informing them that by using their waste, we are helping out the environment,” Click said. 

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