What began as a plan of a few local business people and one small nonprofit to offer commercial composting in Chattanooga, Tenn., has taken some turns. The effort has evolved into a residential program and food waste recycling company Atlas Organics has stepped in to help these community players take the next steps. The Chattanooga operation launched late August under the company’s program, “Compost House.”
Now the partners are thinking about how to scale up, hoping to eventually get municipality buy-in as well as run a much larger commercial composting site.
The immediate goal is to sign up 100 households by the end of the third quarter of 2017. And to have 500 households by the end of the next year. Chattanooga commercial real estate businessman Cullon Hooks and local nonprofit green|spaces, which focuses on sustainability initiatives, were working to prove out a compost concept at a local farm using a few businesses’ food scraps. They realized it would be tough to scale up themselves, especially to start with a commercial project, says Hooks.
So Hooks connected with Atlas, which brought in a system to install an aerated pile, a smaller version of a model the organics recycler runs in Greenville, S.C.