“Breaking it down” with Green Camino: curbside composting

Taylor Harmon, Editor

According to writer and editor Sam Dylan Finch, about 40 percent of food in the United States goes uneaten and straight into the landfill. To put that number in perspective, almost half of the groceries your family purchases next week will end up in the garbage.

Food waste is becoming increasingly common in today’s culture. But Bloomington resident Kathy Gutowsky, alongside her business partner, Randi Cox, are trying to change that through their new business, Green Camino.

Green Camino is a new way to make composting easier (and less smelly) for Bloomington residents. Gutowsky and Cox drop off composting bins at the homes of their clients, and they return weekly or bi-weekly to collect the compost and take it to Fable Farms, located between Bloomington and Unionville, where it is made into rich soil to be reused. Subscribers to Green Camino get a clean bucket at each pick-up.

Two years ago, Gutowsky began volunteering at Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard as a composter. After volunteering for a few months, she was introduced to the idea of group composting through an article in The New York Times. Already a composter alongside her coworker, Cox, Gutowsky brought the idea to “The Hub’s” volunteer coordinator, Hannah Lencheck, who had had experience running a curbside composting business of her own for a year.

“She gave us the name of the farm she worked with, so we contacted them and decided to give it a try. We started with a 12-week pilot to see if we could really do this and remain friends after picking up other people’s trash,” Gutowsky said.

Gutowsky and Cox traveled to 25 homes, including the home of Mayor John Hamilton, in the middle of winter to gather compost. Gutowsky refers to this trial period as a “huge success.”

Encouraging a culture of composting isn’t the only thing Green Camino is advocating for. They are also one of three benefit corporations in Bloomington.

“Being a benefit corporation means we put sustainability over profit. A big part of what we’re doing is education,” Gutowsky said.

Education is exactly what led Green Camino to come to Bloomington High School South. Bloomington South teacher Kathleen Mills knew Gutowsky from college and had the idea to try bring Green Camino to the school.

“To me, it’s the most important thing we can do. Teach the next generation to [compost] without even thinking about it. Right now there is a culture of overbuying, or buying in large quantities. And this country has that luxury, to overbuy and then throw away,” Gutowsky believes.

November will be Green Camino’s one year anniversary. They are continuing to grow and become increasingly involved with education and schools. Bloomington South plans to utilize their partnership by incorporating it into activities with the environmental club, SAGE, and classes such as AP Environmental Science.

To learn more about Green Camino, or to get in contact with them, you can visit their website: