Chris Pieretti and Steve Linvill are expecting a lot of garbage from the Democratic National Convention - political hyperbole aside.
The two Delaware County businessmen are experiencing the historic event from the unglamorous perspective of food scraps collected daily from the Convention Center, one of the main venues along with the Wells Fargo Center, for the four-day political extravaganza that gaveled to a start Monday.
Beginning early Tuesday morning and continuing each day through Friday, an expected two tons of food and other dining-related waste will be trucked to Pieretti and Linvill for composting.
"The DNC called so I'm happy to answer," said Pieretti, 39, co-owner with his wife, Timi, of Kitchen Harvest Inc., a composting business they started in 2010 in their Drexel Hill home that also sells food the couple grows.
In a partnership they've had for about two years, Kitchen Harvest does its composting at the 350-acre Linvilla Orchards in Media, a farm in Linvill's family since 1914 where high-carbon items such as dried straw and shredded leaves essential to converting materials into nutrient-rich fertilizer are plentiful. Much of what Kitchen Harvest produces is used by Linvilla around its extensive crops. The rest is sold to residential and commercial customers.
Neither Pieretti nor Linvill would disclose the terms of the DNC contract, which does not include compost materials from the Wells Fargo Center. Where that is going was not immediately available Monday. They said only that the publicity will prove more valuable than the immediate financial impact to their respective bottom lines.
Linvill, 55, president of his family's business, said his DNC cut will "pay for some tractor fuel." Pieretti said: "It feels great to have this sort of publicity. Anytime composting is mentioned, it helps me."
Started as "a residential hobby, picking up from neighbors," Kitchen Harvest now handles about 500 tons of food scraps a year, 80 percent from commercial enterprises such as schools and breweries, Pieretti said. A short video about its operations is at www.mykitchenharvest.com.
A spokeswoman for the DNC Host Committee referred questions on composting to Three Squares Inc., an environmental consulting firm from Santa Monica, Calif., that the Democratic National Convention Committee has hired to help with sustainability. The firm has not responded to email and Twitter messages.
On Friday, the DNC Host Committee and Exelon Corp. announced a four-pronged sustainability approach for the convention: energy, waste reduction and diversion, events and community engagement, and transportation.
According to that statement, "green volunteers" will work with Three Squares to guide recycling, composting, and waste diversion to designated receptacles at the Convention Center and the Wells Fargo Center.
Delivery of the composting materials will be during the night, Linvill said, to accommodate DNC schedules and in recognition of restrictions on commercial vehicles using I-95 while the convention is in town. That highway is the most direct route from Center City to Media.
The truck arriving at Linvilla each day is expected to contain food waste as well as paper plates and utensils made from plant products, Pieretti said. Each load will be inspected for contaminants.
"I have faith in them," Linvill said of the DNC efforts to separate compost-worthy materials from other waste at the collection sites. "But with any of this type of commercial waste, there's always potential for contaminants. We have the option to refuse it if it's really bad."
All the DNC-derived compost will be used at Linvilla, "probably [around] Christmas trees just because of the time of year it's coming," Linvill said.
While they will talk all day about composting and the importance of environmental stewardship, Linvill and Pieretti declined to talk politics and who they are favoring in this presidential contest.
"I'm a compost enthusiast," Pieretti said. "I'm going to write in Compost Chris for president."