Geoffrey Starin

Geoffrey Starin

Geoffrey Starin

Speaker | Strata Sustainability, LLC

Seattle, WA |

Geoffrey Starin is Co-Founder and Chief Programs Officer for Strata Sustainability. In his working life, he has never had a job outside of the solid waste and environmental sector. With his partner Tim Hodge, Geoffrey Co-Founded Strata to bring innovative and sustainable solid waste management infrastructure to emerging markets in the LAC region. Together they have remediated multiple open dumpsites and implemented diversion and modern, ISO-certified best management practices.

Strata is currently managing the New Providence Ecology Park – a redevelopment of The Bahamas’ largest landfill, transforming it from a burning dumpsite to a modern “ecology park” with large-scale diversion via new recycling and composting facilities.

Geoffrey’s areas of focus are programmatic management, organics/composting, logistics and environmental compliance. He brings 25 years of hands-on experience to bear on both day-to-day operational challenges and overarching system design.

Geoffrey is a Certified Composting Professional via The United States Composting Council.

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: Bringing Commercial Composting to Non-Composting Regions: A Case Study of Composting in Nassau, Bahamas

Presentation Description: Strata has started the first commercial scale composting operation in Nassau, Bahamas. The project is co-located at the New Providence Ecology Park, a new, multi-use environmental facility developed in place of a former open dumpsite and including recycling facilities, composting operation and a proper landfill operating in functional equivalence with US EPA Subtitle D. The challenges in starting the composting operation have been myriad: no source separation of organics, no history or to-scale culture of composting, limited understanding of the benefits of compost to local agriculture, and limited access to qualified laboratories for evaluation and testing of compost products.

Compost has some particular benefits for The Bahamas that would also translate to other, similar small islands developing states. The environment is sandy and bereft of nutrient-rich soil, which forces farmers to import significant quantities of fertilizers and soil amendments at exorbitant expense given the shipping costs. But also, generation of significant volumes of compost will allow the co-located landfill to use a vegetative, evaportranspiration final cover/closure system that would not be viable without compost. A traditional plastic-based cap/closure system would be cost-prohibitive for a facility that is fully funded by the local government as opposed to tipping fees.

This presentation will describe operational startup, how we’ve met or overcome the challenges described, and what the lessons are for other composting operations in similar situations. These lessons include: operational e.g. physical contamination in a non-source-separating community, getting buy-in from waste haulers who are not financially incented to separate organics, how to educate a public – farmers and landscapers in particular — on the value of compost as a resource that can mitigate fertilizer use, and how compost can positively affect other environmental needs – e.g. evapotranspirative closure systems for open dumps.