Over the 22 years of offering Compost Training Programs, O2Compost has worked with many start-up compost businesses, including The Compost Company in Tennessee. As with all such projects, we advise our clients to “Think Big - Start Small” with the caveat “Mistakes are critical to the learning process but small mistakes are better than large ones”.
In 2014, we were contacted by Ed Wansing, a former green-building architect turned compost entrepreneur. Ed grew up on a Missouri farm and felt a connection to the earth. At an architectural conference, he ran into a colleague who knew of a hauling contractor that transported organic waste for Walmart to a distant recycling facility. What the hauler wanted was a closer facility to reduce the time and cost of transportation, and this became the initial idea for their new business.
Ed and his three business partners received their first load of source separated organics (i.e., food waste) in 2011 and they used a small, tow-behind windrow turner to combine the food waste with shredded yard debris and horse manure. Over time, they outgrew the small turner and purchased a larger straddle-type turner but this soon became a limiting factor for their operation.
In an effort to reduce the amount of effort and expense required to turn the piles, and to reduce the footprint required for their growing operation, they began to research alternative methods of composting and discovered the Aerated Static Pile Method and O2Compost.
Starting with a free-standing ASP System, with four windrows and four blowers, they later combined the piles into an Extended ASP System with eight blowers.
We recently spoke with Ed about further expanding his system by increasing it’s capacity using larger diameter pipe, larger blowers and by delivering airflow into a longer pile from both ends.
The Compost Company sells their compost both as a bulk and bagged, premium product. In 2022, they sold approximately 8,000 bags to local nurseries and hardware outlets, including a regional Coop distribution center.
The Compost Company is an excellent example of “Thinking Big - Starting Small”. Their ASP System has saved them a great deal of money, increased their rate of composting (and site capacity) and has resolved odor challenges that they faced in the early days of turned windrow composting. In addition, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) is pleased with their operation and are supportive of their continued growth.
To learn more, visit their website: The Compost Company