Clay Ezell

Clay Ezell

Clay Ezell

Speaker | The Compost Company

Nashville, TN | clay@compostcompany.com

Clay Ezell is a certified Master Composter, a USCC-Certified Site Operator and graduate of New York’s EarthMatter training program, where he took part in the NYC Compost Project, processing organic waste from the five boroughs of New York City for use in local parks. He serves as President of the Tennessee Composting Council, is a member of the US Composting Council, the Tennessee Environmental Council and the Cumberland River Compact. Clay is a native Nashvillian who, in addition to being happy to be home, is dedicated to helping realize the dream of making Nashville the Greenest city in the Southeast. He is an active volunteer with Publicolor and the Tennessee Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation, and serves on the board of FriendsLife Community.

Session Code: C1

Track: Operator

Session Name: Compost Industry Expansion: Reaching New Markets

Session Time: Wednesday, Jan 25, 8:15 to 9:45 AM

Presentation Title: Growing Food Scrap Diversion: A Case Study on Adding Food Waste as a Feedstock to Existing Compost Operations

Presentation Description: Food waste is the largest category of material going to US landfills today, accounting for nearly 24% of landfill inputs, and resulting in 4% of US GHG emissions. All of this material could be composted, so why are so few composters accepting food? Of the 5,000 commercial compost facilities in the United States, fewer than 10% currently accept food scrap.

Food scrap can take many forms: Agricultural residuals, bulk food processing waste, packaged goods and more. What does food waste processing look like at scale, and what challenges must processors be willing to meet in order to divert these materials from landfill?

Brad Miller, Market Development Manager at Eastman Chemical, will present current data on the industrial compost facility landscape as it relates to food waste collection. Clay Ezell, Co-Owner of The Compost Company, will present an overview of their composting practice, focusing on their decision to process not only food scrap, but also certified compostable packaging and serviceware. Discussion will include the environmental and economic benefits of food scrap processing to the community and processor alike. We will also take a clear-eyed look at the challenges – permitting, increased regulation, equipment selection, contamination and odor mitigation – that goes along with accepting a wider array of feedstocks.