A Shaftsbury-based waste hauler has won state approval for a commercial composting operation in Bennington.
Trevor Mance, the owner of TAM Waste Management, says the Act 250 permit granted last week was the last regulatory hurdle for the project.
Mance initially hoped to build a compost facility in his home town of Shaftsbury, but met with opposition. The town imposed a moratorium on commercial composting that is still in effect.
Mance said Bennington not only welcomed the facility, but approved its location on ten acres of town-owned land.
"We’re on leased land by the town of Bennington. It’s at their transfer station’s site. It’s a large parcel, it actually has a capped and closed landfill. It’s got a gravel operation on it, and we’re up in the old gravel pit that’s no longer being used," Mance said.
Mance said the compost project is part of a larger effort to reduce the waste his company is hauling to increasingly distant locations as landfills close.
"One local grocery store that we pick up produces almost 400 tons of food waste in a year. And we realized that there’s thousands of tons of organic waste that are just going in the landfill. We could actually offset all our diesel fuel usage by recycling about I think it’s ten tons per week of food waste."
Mance said it could be a year before the company has compost to sell. Once the ground thaws work will begin on runoff systems, and other infrastructure to keep the material out of the environment.
The company also plans extensive testing and research to make sure the compost is free of herbicides. The presence of ‘persistent herbicides’ created problems last year for a Burlington compost producer and its customers.