Founders Kaile Teramoto and Stacy Huynh are two entrepreneurs who joined forces to create Westside Compost, a Los Angeles based initiative that combines composting and fashion to promote a more sustainable world.
Composting could reduce the amount of trash sent to landfills and incinerators in the U.S. by at least 30 percent. It’s the easiest way to reduce the burden on landfills while returning carbon into the ground to replenish and stabilize soil. Composting is incredibly beneficial to our environment, food systems and backyard gardens, because it can help pull carbon out of the atmosphere and replace polluting chemical fertilizers, protecting public health.
Read our interview withWestside Compost to learn how you can help re-soil our future.
Tell us, what inspired the creation of Westside Compost?
Kaile: Westside Compost is an educational platform that brings accessibility to sustainable information, products, and services. Within our platform we have a Climate Change News section, playlists for plants, and a sustainable index where you can shop hundreds of brands helping do their part.
Stacy: Westside Compost is an opportunity to broaden everyone’s perspective on their lifestyle. It shows that a healthier more sustainable lifestyle is within arm’s length and all we need is more accessible resources and support. That is what Westside Compost aims to do – to close that gap of accessibility. We were inspired through the desire to impact not only our own lives and those surrounding us, but the world. And, composting and sustainable education was the path to doing that for us.
Composting isn’t taught in the majority of American households and businesses, so for those who are new, what’s the best way someone can learn how to compost?
Kaile: Research and identify your type of environment! Based off this information, you will be able to choose what composting method is right for you. Many individuals who don’t have access to a yard choose vermicomposting, the breakdown of food waste using worms. This bin can be placed inside or on a balcony. After choosing your method based on your environment, trial and error will help you figure out what is a good carbon to nitrogen ratio to help process your composting faster.
Stacy: Set a separate bin aside in your kitchen to start putting your food scraps, paper towels, bags, etc. in. From there, you can decide whether you’d like to compost at home, drop off at a local composting farm, or hire a pick up service. You can always reach out to us on our community phone number where we actively advise our members on best composting practices.
What do you wish you knew about composting before you started?
Kaile: How easy it is to implement it into your life! Once you become conscious of what can be composted it also plays a huge role on what and where you start buying food. For example I began growing herbs and vegetables when I started composting in Los Angeles. Being aware of food waste also helped me become more aware of how often I was using single-use plastics.
Stacy: I wish I knew all of the different options that made composting more accessible and easy. I also wish that it was already embedded in our lives, because the research process was intense and brought us down several rabbit holes, opened up more unanswered questions, and revealed several gaps yet to be closed. But, this doesn’t make me regret the process whatsoever – it’s driving us to do more.
What’s been your greatest learning experience in creating and running Westside Compost?
Kaile: It is hard for me to pick one thing! I think the knowledge that we have learned and are continuing to learn is the biggest takeaway. No activist or business is perfect. We are continuously learning, un-learning, and re-learning.
Stacy: We’ve had many ideas come to fruition with much success, while others didn’t garner much interest. The success of Westside Compost can be easily determined by insights and activity because it is more of a service than a product offering. We’ve had to adjust and broaden our strategy in how we produce the information and service we are providing to meet the desires and needs of our audience and beyond.
What’s next for Westside Compost?
Kaile: Be on the lookout for a pop up and more visual content for everyone, possibly a sustainable Youtube channel. Stacy and I also hope to collaborate with some sustainable platforms 2022. There are a couple more projects we can’t say about yet, but be on the lookout this upcoming year!
Stacy: We’re always coming with more! Most of our projects in the pipeline involve developing a greater connection with and broadening our audience.
What does sustainability mean to you?
Kaile: Sustainability means teaching the youth about the state our planet is in right now. They are the future, and their voices matter just as much if not more than ours. I would also like to highlight environmental justice issues amongst the BIPOC communities. There have been harmful and inaccurate narratives that have been taught for centuries that we as individuals have the responsibility to gain understanding and stand as allies.
Stacy: A healthier, present, and hopeful lifestyle.
If you could be anywhere in nature right now, where would you be and why?
Kaile: Water! I think I was some sort of aquatic animal in a previous life, lol. There is something so calming about sitting still in water. It can also be one of the purest natural elements found on earth. I also grew up in the countryside so my favorite place in nature would have to be back home in Northern, California.
Stacy: I would be in the middle of a forest or mountain. There’s a physical connection when walking on Earth’s natural surface with your bare feet – electrons flow from the earth and into your body to create a neutral electrical charge. There are many health benefits to this. And, there’s also a mental connection of presence and appreciation. We all know life has many spectrums that can make your days feel chaotic, so grounding yourself, to me, is the best way to rebalance, recalibrate, and reset.
If you could give one piece of advice to repair our planet, what would it be?
Kaile: “The Planet Isn’t Going Anywhere. WE ARE!” – George Carlin. This quote put things into perspective for me when I began going down the rabbit hole of sustainability because yes, that can happen. As we enjoy items that provide excess waste, we are doing harm to ourselves and younger generations. Yes, Earth as we know it is changing due to human activity, but it will survive, grow, and adapt beyond human life because that is the power this planet holds. Also, instead of banning materials such as plastic, I would like to advocate for non-discriminatory rights first. Plastic is simply not the problem; it is how much is being produced and at what rate. When we look at sustainability through a non-judgmental lens, I believe that is where the truth lies.
Stacy: Love and appreciate our planet as a living thing. Earth is always moving, changing, shifting through plate tectonics, earth’s tilt, etc. Some of these things we can’t change because that is the evolution of our home planet. But, what we can do is choose to treat it kindly and make decisions that won’t speed the process of catastrophic events. That’s why we need to stay educated and not ignore what we as humans have done and are doing to negatively affect our planet. We can’t continue to use and abuse. It’s time, collectively as a human race, to turn our relationship with Earth into a healthy one.
For any readers who want to connect with Westside Compost, what’s the best way to get in touch?
We have a couple ways our WC community can connect with us! We post weekly content on our Instagram @westsidecompost. If you would like to personally say hi or you have a composting question, feel free to text us at +1 (213) 516-6484.
To access our hub of information and to shop all of our products, please visit westsidecompost.com
Before we go
Don’t be afraid to give composting a try or reach out to Westside Compost. Since the beginning of microorganisms on Earth, Mother Nature has been composting, it’s in your DNA!
We need more leaders like Kaile and Stacy to spread a realistic and approachable method to healing our relationship with Mother Earth. I hope Westside Compost gains traction — such a genius idea that can make all the difference. Excited to start my composting journey!