Frequently Asked Questions
- What exactly does SquareRoots do?
We collect food waste from businesses and residents in the Midland Michigan area and, using various methods, process it into compost, worm-castings, and other natural amendments that improve soil health.
- What do you mean by "soil health"?
“Soil health is a general term reflecting the chemical, physical and biological properties that result in efficient food production and optimum ecosystem services,” according to James Tiedje, a Michigan State University scientist who focuses his research on the issue. Soil health can be broken down into three main categories: chemical, physical and biological properties:
- Chemical properties
Farmers have been soil testing for many years. This common management practice measures soil pH and key nutrients important for plant growth. Based on test results, recommendations for fertilizer and lime are given to optimize crop production.
- Physical properties
This includes soil characteristics that are inherent such as the soil texture (sand, silt, clay), but also includes soil color, structure, consistency and bulk density. While soil texture will not change, the other factors can be influenced by management. Compacted soils decrease water infiltration and reduce crop yields. Over-tilled soils can lead to surface compaction, loss of soil from wind and water erosion and ultimately yield loss.
- Biological properties
The life within the soil. This includes such things as earthworms and arthropods as well as things seen only with a microscope, such as nematodes, protozoa, fungi and bacteria. Life in just one acre of healthy soils can equal the weight of two cows! That is a lot of life, life that helps break down residue, build soil structure and feed growing crops.
- How do you handle billing?
We offer a variety of plans to accommodate busy lifestyles. We accept PayPal, checks or cash. Payment can be mailed or we can pick it up when we pick up your container.
- Will the bucket smell bad?
Definitely not! All of our buckets are sanitized and lined. Even with pickup every two weeks, it is not normal for the bucket to have any discernable odor.
- What will my pickup day/time be?
This is entirely up to you. We strive to be as flexible as possible! Note - we do not do pickups on Sunday.
- Where do I put my bucket for pickup?
Best practice is to place the bucket outside in front of your door or garage in plain sight in the morning of your pickup day where we can get it quickly and leave the new replacement bucket. We don't recommend putting the bucket outside overnight since this might attract pests. If you have a dog or other pet, we ask that you place the bucket in a location apart from the pet so as to avoid the possibility of your pet escaping while we access the bucket.
- Do I get some compost?
Yes! We keep track of the quantity of food waste you produce and make compost available to those who want it in quantities that are proportional to the amount of material picked up.
- Do you produce products?
Yes. We seasonally offer compost and worm castings.
- Why do you say, "seasonally"?
Compost requires several months to fully mature, depending upon the method used, therefore, food scraps composted in the spring typically won't be fully composted until fall. Worms produce usable castings (worm poo) more quickly - at around 2 to 3 months. Composting doesn't progress as quickly in the winter. Our worms are handled indoors, so they continue to produce throughout the year.
- What sorts of food waste can I compost?
Check out our list.
- What is vermiculture or vermicomposting?
Vermicomposting is composting using earthworms - specifically "red wigglers" (eisenia fetida). A pound of worms can consume up to half a pound of food waste per day. We use worms to produce an extremely fertile form of compost called "worm castings". Worm castings are basically the waste products that the worms leave behind and are rich in nitrates, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, and minerals such as manganese, copper, zinc, cobalt, borax, iron, carbon, and nitrogen – all in natural proportions.
- What is "bokashi"?
is Japanese for "shading off" or "gradation." Bokashi is a method that uses a mix of microorganisms to cover food waste or wilted plants to decrease smell. A mixture of microorganisms and wheat bran, sawdust or coffee grounds is layered over the food waste and allowed to ferment. The mixture is layered with waste in a sealed container and after a few weeks, removed and then used.
- I don't see my question here. Now what?
Give us a call [989.839.6719] or use our Contact Page here.