When Natalie and Don Mallory moved from Colorado to the former oil boomtown of Tulsa, they decided to make their own black gold: compost.
The idea to start a compost business began in early 2016, when they attended a 40-hour training by the U.S. Composting Council in Raleigh, North Carolina.
The couple launched Full Sun Composting in October 2016 in their own backyard, and this month are settling in to their new commercial space at Hemphill Create, a manufacturing incubator near East Pine Street and North Harvard Avenue.
"There’s something great about turning what someone considers trash into a valuable medium," Natalie Mallory says. Compost is considered by some to be black gold: rich organic matter that enriches soil, retains moisture, reduces the need for chemical fertilizers, encourages the production of beneficial bacteria and reduces methane emissions from landfills, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. In 2014, 38 million pounds of food waste were discarded. Twenty percent of what Americans discard is food waste.
Full Sun collects food waste and coffee grounds from sites across the city, including the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, Roppongi, The Vault, 36 Degrees North, Kitchen 66, Crushed Red and Blue Moon Cafe, and mixes those ingredients with wood chips and other organic materials to create a compost perfect for local gardens and lawns.
Natalie, who grew up on a dairy farm and works as a nutritionist for the Tulsa Health Department, says she always wanted to be a good steward of the earth. Similar compost services exist across the country, but Full Sun is working with the Department of Environmental Quality to be the first permitted in the state.
Until then, the Mallorys will continue to divert Tulsa food waste. In 2017, Full Sun collected 34,256 pounds, with plans to double that this year, thanks to new partners and the company’s new location.
Full Sun Compost is sold at Grogg’s Green Barn, 10105 E. 61st St., in 1-cubic-foot bags.
Visit fullsuncomposting.com for more information.