February 15, 2019

State loan, crowdfunding boost Hartford composter

Photo | Contributed
Photo | Contributed
Blue Earth's new compost truck.

Blue Earth Composting is expanding its reach with the help of a recent economic development loan.

The company, founded five years ago and led by Alexander Williams, said it's positioned to become the largest diverter of food scraps in Connecticut, a state that produces approximately 400,000 tons of scraps per year.

Last month, the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) loaned Blue Earth $133,000 to purchase a new collection truck.

The truck, built in Ohio, arrived recently in Connecticut and is being painted in Middletown, said Williams, who hopes to have it on the road by the first week of March. Up to now, the company has been picking up compost with box trucks equipped with lift gates. The new, custom-made truck will more than double Blue Earth's hauling capacity, to eight tons per load.

The company is also seeking to raise $20,000 through a recently launched crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.

The campaign runs through March 22, and as of Friday had already raised more than half of its goal. It's offering discounted pick-up service and other perks to those who donate.

Williams acquired Blue Earth in 2014 from its original founder, and said the company's residential customer count has since grown from 22 to 300. Blue Earth also serves commercial customers and special events.

Blue Earth says it has picked up 4.4 million pounds of food scraps since 2013, which amounts to 2,200 tons.

The company recently added two employees, increasing its total workforce to six, as required by the DECD Small Business Express loan, Williams said.

He said composting -- along with recycling and other efforts -- is key to the state's goal of diverting 60 percent of its municipal solid waste from the waste stream, which would reduce the amount of trash that's burned at the aging waste-to-energy plant in Hartford.

The plant, operated by the quasi-public Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority, was forced to shut down for nearly three months after an equipment failure that occurred in November.

The legislature ordered a redevelopment of the plant nearly five years ago, but contract negotiations between MIRA and the state's selected bidder, Sacyr-Rooney, have stalled and gone well past their original deadline of Aug. 29, 2018.

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