NEWRY — Newry selectmen heard Tuesday from Dean Richmond of Mason Township about his food waste program.

Richmond attended a selectmen’s meeting last year, when he first presented the board with information on his composting efforts.

Richmond, who lives and works at Pleasant River Farms, started composting as an easy, affordable way to dispose of agricultural waste. 

A few years ago, Richmond said he was asked by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection if he would include food waste at his composting operation. 

Richmond thought it was a good idea and agreed.

He began his food waste operation by contacting Newry businesses, such as the Summit and Jordan hotels and South Ridge Lodge.

“We’ve been able to haul about 100 tons of food waste over the last year and a half,” Richmond said.

While the majority of the waste has came from businesses in Newry’s Sunday River area, Richmond said more restaurants in Bethel have joined in his efforts, including The Bethel Inn Resort, Brian’s Bistro, Crossroads Diner, Gould Academy and Steam Mill Brewing.

Richmond said he recently received a grant that will help fund more equipment and make the hauling and processing of food waste more efficient.

On Tuesday, Richmond explained to Newry selectmen the benefits of his program.

He said landfills are the third-leading contributor to greenhouse gases, so returning organic matter to local soil benefits the environment.

Richmond also said his service is simple for others to utilize because many materials, including cheese, meat, fruits, vegetables, oils and bread, can be composted.

Richmond also explained the cost benefits of his program; specifically, that disposal fees are reduced because businesses do not incur transportation fees.

[email protected]

filed under: