Midcoast duo provides unique compost service

By Louis Bettcher | Jul 10, 2018
Source: Scrapdogscompost.com The Scrapdogs team: Tessa Rosenberry, "Roo" and Davis Saltonstall.

Camden — Have you ever felt a pang of guilt as you toss the ends of celery, the core of an apple or a pile of coffee grinds into your trash? These could all biodegrade and become compost, but you don't have the space, time or energy to create a composting facility in your back yard.

Scrapdogs Community Compost seeks to meet the needs of citizens in Midcoast Maine by providing a convenient, door-to-door composting service. Founded by Davis Saltonstall and Tessa Rosenberry, the company will pick up table scraps from the homes of members in the program and bring it to their site of operations in Camden. From here the pair carefully monitors the degradation of the materials, and returns to customers with a bucket of the finished product: fresh compost.

The ecologically-minded entrepreneurs behind Scrapdogs are recent graduates of NYU, and met while attending the New York school. Saltonstall grew up in Maine, and worked at a solar company after college. Rosenberry lived throughout New England and worked for the National Parks Service before making her first foray with Saltonstall to Camden.

"A huge part of my goal in building a community compost service is, understandably, servicing the community. And in order to do that here, I'm having to get to know that community, along with everything that comes with it - from its politics and its natural resources, to its back-road shortcuts and coffee shops. There's a lot that goes into getting to know a new place, especially when you're trying to provide something new and valuable to its people. For me, that process has been both a challenge and a delight," said Rosenberry.

Subscribers to the program collect their food scraps in a five-gallon bucket that gets picked up on a weekly basis by the Scrapdogs team. The food waste and other organic matter is taken to the pilot location throughout the year. In the spring, when subscribers need compost for their garden, they're eligible for up to 1/2 a yard of free compost from the site, which is delivered to their door at no extra cost.

The fee for the first month is $30 to cover the cost of the bin and the logistics of adding a stop to the team's pick up route. Every month following is $20, which covers four pick ups by the team. Scrapdogs is currently serving the towns of Camden, Rockport, Hope, Rockland, Appleton, Lincolnville, Thomaston and Belfast.

Saltonstall said that the response he and Rosenberry have received from the community has been overwhelmingly supportive. People typically keep their bucket of compostable scraps outside or in their garage, which limits any odors as well as lightens the amount of garbage they have to take to the dump. But for the pair, Scrapdogs is part of a larger effort to create a sense of awareness and connection to our food and our methods of managing waste.

"We're in this to build a community resource -- and promote a closed-loop food system here in the Midcoast. At our core, our business model is all about preventing useful resources (food waste, lawn clippings, etc.) from being incinerated or 'landfilled.' We capture them and we turn them into some of the most powerful fertilizer you can get. And in the process of doing so, we're also working to curb local carbon emissions."

"When food scraps and other organics make their way into the compactor or go the local landfill they emit more potent greenhouse gases than they otherwise would as compost. People like knowing that their food-waste isn't going to exacerbate one of the world's many existential challenges," said Saltonstall.

Accompanied by their dog, Roo, who serves as the company's mascot, Saltonstall and Rosenberry have already garnered a great deal of enthusiasm in the project. A number of volunteers helped them build their first compost stalls in Camden, and last week a community compost launch party was held at Flatbread Co., in Rockport.

The partners share an optimistic vision as they look to the project's future. "My hope is that we will bring people together around this largely simple idea: that what we consider waste can be much more than that. I hope we can build a network of people who not only subscribe to the same service, but are working towards a common goal - because that's where we can have a real impact," said Rosenberry.

Information about Scrapdogs' mission, membership in the program and blog entries can be found at Scrapdogscompost.com



Comments (3)
Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Jul 12, 2018 08:32

Let's encourage not discourage these young people to are trying to help us change our wasteful ways.  I wish them all the success and will be calling to join their group.

Posted by: Edwin E Ecker | Jul 11, 2018 04:20

I wish them luck but to use low carbon emissions and greenhouse gases as their reasoning for this venture is to say the least a self serving and truly ill informed reason to turn a profit.

Posted by: Kendall Merriam | Jul 10, 2018 18:06

A great and much needed service, similar to the Portland area's program "Garbage-to-Garden."

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