Launched earlier this year, the program at the U.S. Department of Transportation is already diverting approximately 5 tons of food waste per month from the landfill, sending it instead to Veteran Compost, a company that employs veterans and their family members to turn food scraps into high-quality compost.
David Troust, Great Forest’s V.P. of Business Development, had heard about the company and sat down with its founder, Justen Garrity, an Iraq vet, for coffee and a chat about ways to work together.
“When he could not find a job, he created one for himself and fellow vets. This is not only inspiring, but very practical as well. His company is filling a need in the region for composting facilities,” says David. “They have become one of our go-to compost vendors.”
Veteran Compost’s Maryland facility produces about 10,000 cubic yards of finished compost each year that is approved for use on organic farms. Their Virginia facility processes 3-5 tons of food scraps per day.
“We operate the only permitted commercial food scrap composting sites in the region,” says Justen, “… and we offer a clean bin swap each time.”
That clean bin service, notes David, is a big plus, especially for buildings and businesses that are under the mistaken impression that the process is unsightly and messy.
“We always remind clients that adding a composting program will not significantly impact their surroundings. If their current waste and recycling is collected, stored and removed properly, their organic waste for composting will be too,” says David.
“For clients that are serious about recycling, composting is a MUST to reach those sustainability goals,” adds David. “This is one way we are moving towards zero waste.”
More Programs Launching Soon
A second program that feeds Veteran Compost was launched by Great Forest at 2121 and 2115 Wisconsin Avenue, buildings managed by JBG/Commercial Management, LLC that houses multiple tenants, including a deli and office pantries on each floor.
Plans are underway to install new composting programs over the next few months in at least seven other JBG buildings, with support from property managers like Samantha Ralli and the sustainability manager Jessica Long.
The organic material collected will be again be directed to Veteran Compost to fuel farms, the environment, and most importantly, veterans going from combat to compost.