Kesiah Brascom, OffBeet Compost

January 14, 2020 | General

Composting Roundup

Cafeteria To Composting In Massachusetts Schools

Two elementary schools and a middle school in North Andover, Massachusetts participate in a cafeteria food waste collection program — diverting about 250 lbs/day of food scraps. In 2019, North Andover received a $30,000 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s Sustainable Materials Recovery Program that is being distributed to schools over 3 years. With this funding, the schools initiated a food waste collection program, working with OffBeet Compost, a local food scraps collection and composting service. Students source separate their food waste in the cafeteria, which is then transported in wheeled bins by the custodial staff to an outdoor bin.
OffBeet Compost, based in Lowell, Massachusetts, is owned by Kesiah Brascom, who started the business after working for many years in the sustainable agriculture and food justice realm.  The company accepts all food waste, which it composts at a local farm. Subscription collection service is provided to households and businesses, and OffBeet has several drop-off locations. It recently acquired collection customers from Roots Compost, expanding its service area to the broader Merrimack Valley.

New Composting Infrastructure In Pennsylvania

McGill Environmental Systems received land development approval from the Falls Township, Pennsylvania Board of Supervisors in December, paving the way for McGill to build a 124,000 sq.ft. indoor aerated static pile composting facility on a 15.5-acre property in Fairless Hills (PA). “We signed a long-term lease on the site with Warner Company, part of Waste Management,” explains Noel Lyon, McGill’s president. “The next big step is getting a General Permit from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. We hope to have that by later this year and break ground before the end of 2020.”
The Fairless Hills site will accept about 100,000 tons/year of yard trimmings, food waste and biosolids. The facility will be the company’s first in the Northeast; its other composting sites are in Virginia and North Carolina. The site in Falls Township is adjacent to a quarry, and close to a landfill.

University To Compost Food Waste In 2020

The Marshall University Sustainability Department is developing a composting facility in West Virginia at its University Heights location. It will be operated in conjunction with the Gro Marshall Recovery Fellowship, a program within the department, through a partnership with the Karma Yoga Institute. The program provides job training and certification to those in recovery through various green-collar fields. Three service hours per week will be included at the composting facility and gardens. Upon completion of the program, Gro Marshall  participants will be eligible for certification as master gardeners. The goal of Gro Marshall is to offer real-life experience with certification to help participants find long-term employment, which has been shown to decrease the rate of relapse.
Roughly 300 tons/year of food waste is generated by the university, and has been landfilled. The facility will include an in-vessel composter for initial composting, followed by vermicomposting in a 5-foot by 40-foot worm bin that holds 50,000 red wiggler worms. Compost will be harvested twice a week and used on the Huntington campus and sold to the public. The composting facility is made possible, in part, through a gift from Tom Wolf, a local owner of more than a dozen McDonalds franchises in the Tri-State area. Wolf has been instrumental in development of the project. The sustainability department is still working on securing funding for the last piece of equipment needed to make the facility fully functional. Timeline for completion is early 2020.

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