This summer, we launched our Sustainable Earth Small Business Awards (SESBA) and chose 15 winners who showcased outstanding sustainability commitments. In our new podcast, The Green Scene, we have conversations with the trailblazing SESBA winners about walking the sustainable walk. In our second episode, R. City | Transforming Food Waste into FarmLand, we sat down with composting enthusiast and owner of Recycled City (R. City), JD Hill. R. City is a composting service in the Phoenix valley that uses a regenerative process to turn food waste back into farmland. R. City is returning nutrients to the soil and using it to grow sustainable and chemical-free produce. This purpose driven company has a mission to use community support to reduce landfill waste, build farmland, and empower their customers to look at their own food waste and consumption habits. Their mission is to “connect residents and businesses to local farming, closing the gap in our society between our food and where it comes from.”  

Did you know that approximately 40% of food grown is not eaten? All the waste associated with current agriculture practices sparked an interest in JD to change the system. Growing up in Minnesota, JD took a special interest in farming and regenerative agriculture because of a desire to change this system. As a former sustainability student at Arizona State University, his classes about food deserts in Phoenix inspired him to reimagine food waste from a consumer lens. His “ah ha” moment came when he realized that there was a lack of personal awareness from people not realizing the extent of their own food waste. He mentions, “like most people I was throwing coffee grounds, banana peels, and napkins into the trash and told myself this doesn’t make sense.” He realized that this is a business in most metropolitan areas right now and I wanted to bring this concept to the Phoenix valley. Coupled with a lack of services focused on the community building component of composting, JD decided that communities could be healed through awareness of food waste and regenerative agriculture. He capitalized on the lack of composting from municipalities’ as momentum for his full-circle service to support greater customers and collect more compostable goods for his farmland rebuilding project. With a growing population in Phoenix and more mouths to feed, there is inherently more food waste that is accumulated from households, businesses, and restaurants. JD hopes that the community he has built through R. City will continue to reinvent how we think about the waste stream.  


What does R. City do?

R. City offers services to homes, businesses, and restaurants and will send over a 5-gallon odor free composting bucket to collect your leftover food scraps during the week from taco Tuesday and any other culinary adventures you may embark on! The compost collected is taken directly to their farm in south phoenix where a team uses it to grow an array of beautiful fruits and vegetables available for purchase. At the heart of this compostable pickup program, is a group of individuals passionate about getting their hands dirty (literally) in order to create a circular economy. This full-circle service not only makes composting accessible and easy to homes, businesses, and restaurants, but allows their customers to feel good knowing that they are making an impact in their local community and taking a step toward eliminating food waste. 

Get Involved

Interested in composting your food waste? As a customer, you can try a 14-day free trial to test out the services offered by R. City. This trial period allows you to understand how much food waste you are generating in your household. On their website, they feature a convenient tool that allows you to decide what everyday items and food are compostable.