July 12, 2022 | Collection, Community Composting, Composting, Contamination, Facilities

Compost Happenings

Top: Tyler Miller (left) and Pierce Louis (right) cofounded Dirt Hugger (composting site above) in 2010. The company was recently acquired by Atlas Organics.

The composting industry is anything but idle these days. Several recent happenings include:

Atlas Organics Acquires Dirt Hugger

Atlas Organics founders Joseph McMillin (left) and Gary Nihart (right).

Atlas Organics founders Joseph McMillin (left) and Gary Nihart (right).

Atlas Organics announced on July 1 that it acquired Dirt Hugger, a compost manufacturer based in Dallesport, Washington, with a retail site in Dalles, Oregon. Atlas itself was acquired in early 2022 by Generate Capital, PBC, and is a Generate Upcycle company. Dirt Hugger, profiled a number of times in BioCycle, was cofounded in 2010 by Pierce Louis and Tyler Miller. “The Dirt Hugger team has one of the best run facilities in the United States with a myriad of self-developed technologies for processing organic waste and making a high-quality product,” noted Gary Nihart, Atlas Organics Chief Operating Officer. “Their team has a very similar culture and set of core values to that of Atlas.” The transaction continues Atlas Organics’ expansion into the western United States, following its recent contract award to manage a composting facility with the Salinas Valley Waste Authority in California. Atlas operates more than 12 composting facilities across the U.S.

Compost Crew Builds “Outpost” At Orchard

Compost Outpost® at Butler Orchard in Germantown, Maryland.

Compost Crew Inc., a food scraps recycling company based in Rockville, Maryland, announced the opening of a new Compost Outpost® at Butler’s Orchard in Germantown (MD). Under the terms of the partnership, Butler’s Orchard owns the composting site, which was constructed and will be operated by Compost Crew. “Compost is an important part of our healthy farming practices,” explains Ben Butler, Farm and Finance Manager at Butler’s Orchard. “This partnership provides us with a guaranteed source of high-quality compost for our crops without the hassle, as Compost Crew does the dirty work.” In addition to this new location, Compost Crew also operates a Compost Outpost in partnership with One Acre Farm in Dickerson (MD) and has several other Outposts under construction. Butler’s Orchard started receiving food scraps in June. It will process 20 tons/month of organics, including five tons of food scraps collected from approximately 200 Montgomery County homes. All finished compost produced at the Compost Outpost will be used in the orchard.

USCC’s PFAS Resources

PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), known as “forever chemicals” because of their persistence in the environment, are on the minds of many in the composting and organics recycling sector — from practitioners to policy makers. These chemicals give materials both hydrophobic and lipophobic properties, and are commonly found in many industrial and consumer products. They are so prevalent that they can be detected in the human bloodstream and in some organic wastes. Organics recycling and composting facilities are increasingly having to contend with the possible presence of PFAS in their end products. The US Composting Council (USCC) has a helpful page on its website, PFAS In Compost, that provides background on PFAS and includes a federal and state policy tracker. Notes Linda Norris Waldt, USCC’s Director of Advocacy, Corporate & Chapter Relations, “we are not the culprits or the villains in these stories, but we must do everything we can to be part of the solution.” We also suggest you tap into BioCycle coverage of PFAS, starting with the excellent article, “A Dose of PFAS Reality.”


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