More Help, Less Waste: Alum Develops Popular Compost Service

USC Iovine and Young Academy alumni Ben Wan in front of compost buckets.

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “One man’s trash is another’s treasure.” The expression rings especially true for USC Iovine and Young Academy alumni Ben Wan. One could say that Wan has devoted his professional attention to, well… taking out the trash. He’s in the business lessening the work associated with reducing waste. Wan has launched Hudson Compost Services, a company that helps households compost easily and efficiently. While he isn’t exactly turning trash into treasure, he is ensuring it doesn’t end up in landfills. Your carbon footprint is essentially in his – and his team of trusty compost collectors’ – hands. 

The benefits of composting are numerous. There’s the decreasing of greenhouse gasses, minimization of plastic bag usage, and promoting natural fertilizer production. But there’s that whole saving your food scraps in a bin and figuring out what to do with them thing. And if your county doesn’t have a pick-up service, the process is even more daunting. That’s where Hudson Compost Services comes in – an idea conceived of by Wan when he realized even the most sustainably-minded people have trouble sticking with composting for the long haul. Wan grew up in an environmentally-conscious community in New York’s Westchester County, and when he headed home from USC for the summer after sophomore year, he recognized that some of his neighbors had given up on the method of dealing with waste. 

“I grew up on these values. I was wondering if there’s any way that we could keep them composting,” Wan recalled. “‘What would I need to do in order to make you keep composting?’ And I just said, ‘If you had a collection service, was this something that you’d be interested in?’”

The answer was a resounding yes. Partnering with some high school friends, Wan got his concept off the ground with a local pilot program, picking up trash from 25 families and counting by the end of the summer. When he graduated in 2021, there were 50 signed up. Now, four years later, he serves over 500 across the New York City suburbs and has diverted over 300,000 pounds of food waste. 

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