10/4/2013 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
With the completion and opening of the TAM Organics commercial composting facility on Houghton Lane, Bennington is no longer the only county in Vermont to be without one. Some local food servers and farmers are already happy customers. Early supporters such as Bennington College, Burger King, Kevin’s Sports Pub and Restaurant, Pangaea, and Allegros Ristorante are on board, with more business owners from Bennington to Rutland now signing on. TAM Organics is a project of TAM Waste Management, which has been operating in Shaftsbury since 1996.
Compost customers say they are pleased to be pioneering a project that will improve Vermont’s environment and reduce global warming. According to Deb Markowitz, Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Vermont currently recycles only 36 percent of its waste, while over half of the remaining 64 percent is also recyclable. Food waste is the #1 component of municipal garbage.
In April, 2012, Markowitz said: “Even in Vermont, where we take such pride in environmental stewardship, we are throwing out more garbage than ever. Vermonters generate more than 600,000 tons of garbage every year, or about two tons for every Vermont household. We have to rethink our approach to waste!”
At TAM Organics, compost is created by thoroughly combining wet organic wastes such as food scraps in the right ratios with various bulking agents such as wood chips, leaves and dry manures, remixing periodically, and then monitoring the finished material as it fully stabilizes and matures through a curing process. Through volume, temperature and moisture management, commercial composting produces higher temperatures which destroy pathogens, bones and weed seeds that natural decomposition does not usually destroy.
TAM owner Trevor Mance says, “I am really excited to see what we’ve been talking about for three years now actually happening! Seeing food waste being composted instead of going to the landfill is very rewarding to me. Every food scrap tote that a weekly customer fills up will offset greenhouse gasses equivalent to burning 13 gallons of gasoline. So for a customer like Bennington College, that amounts to around 7,000 gallons being offset a year. That’s a big change that we can all work on together.”
Matthew Proft of East Dorset has recently been hired to coordinate the TAM Organics operation, from sales and marketing through production and product development. Proft has been involved in composting systems and organic agriculture in Vermont for over 30 years and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge.
After acquiring an education in animal sciences and crop management at Sterling College and UVM, Proft started Someday Farm with his family in the early 80’s. He has been recognized as one of a handful of pioneers throughout the state in the diversified family farm movement of that era. Since then he has helped raise vegetables, turkeys, chicken, pheasant, eggs, syrup and honey, as well as five children.
Proft states, “As our farm business grew, the urgency to keep a positive flow of nutrients into the fields was imperative. To that effort and to maintain an organic approach to our farming practices, we undertook an extensive on-farm compost production program and it quickly became the foundation of fertility generation on the farm. Over the years, our compost operation grew and became a revenue generator as surplus compost was produced. This product quickly sold out each spring. The value of compost is quickly becoming realized throughout the gardening and farming community. I am eager to make a high quality product at the TAM Organics facility, and look forward to offering this to the community in the 2014 growing season.”
TAM owner Mance says, “We are also really pleased to be building up sustainable business in our area. Instead of hauling garbage out of state, we can focus on taking a waste product and enhancing local soils and improving crops with a valuable resource- good organic compost and top soil. And now that we have the facility in working order, we want to get the word out that we are open and we want material! We are ready for increased participation from food waste generators and manure generators to ensure that we have a product to sell in a year. We will provide the containers, pick up right from your business, and do all the work.”
As TAM Organics grows, Mance also looks forward to involving local schools and community groups further in composting programs and creative pilot projects. For example, the heat from commercial composting can be harvested to heat greenhouses, operate vermiculture systems and more.
Mance states, “We want to help change the future by educating not only the adults but the children as well, which in the end will make the world a better place for all of us.”
More information about the composting process, the facility, and a slide show can be found in the Composting section of www.TAMwasteremoval.com. Mance welcomes calls about the project at 802-447-1300 or by email from the website. Print quality versions of the photos in the Compost Site slide show are available.
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