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Bristol Area Lions Learn About Project Earth 11/15/2016

Posted by DS in meetings, speakers.
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Ethan Wajer (right), from Project Earth, is thanked for his presentation by Bristol Area Lions Club President Brendan Donegan.

“Saving the earth one bucket at a time” is Ethan Wajer’s tag line. As a young landscaper and stone sculptor working from Newcastle, he became interested in the “Garbage to Garden” business model introduced by Tyler Frank to the Portland area in 2012. Two years ago, after studying the opportunity, Wajer decided to bring curbside composting to his home town and neighboring areas.

Joining the Bristol Area Lions Club as the after dinner speaker on November 7 at the Willing Workers Hall in New Harbor, Wajer explained his entrepreneurial approach to a new business called Project Earth. Lincoln County already had established a successful bulk composting operation at the recycling facility in Wiscasset. With infrastructure in place, the next logical step became organizing collection of approved “green” food scraps, adding them to the composting workflow in Wiscasset, and then distributing finished product back to the client base.

With 150 residential accounts, several restaurants, and Rising Tide already contributing to Project Earth, Wajer’s goal is to double every year, employ on one or more assistants and expand the coverage area. He also intends to make a credible pitch for business from large supermarkets to recycle their waste produce into organic fertilizer. “Our compost is in demand because it is high quality material and tested to meet strict standards,” he said, giving credit to the unique features of the Wiscasset operation.

Horse manure is the secret. It contains higher nutrient levels than cow manure and supports more efficient degradation of the food scraps mixed with it. Wajer explained that a doughnut hole is dug into a small manure pile placed on a concrete pad. Barrels of food scraps are emptied into the center, and covered over with more manure. The process is then repeated several times to achieve large, layered piles. These are turned over ever few days and sifted as needed to insure uniformity.

Within weeks, especially during warm weather, the compost is ready. Residential clients, whose foods scraps are collected weekly in 5 gallon pails for a modest fee, receive 40 lbs. of compost in exchange and can buy larger amounts. Special arrangements are made with commercial clients depending on volume.

A Lincoln Academy graduate, Wajer attended Curry College in Massachusetts. Project Earth has given him a reason to stay firmly rooted in Maine. Prospective clients wishing to learn more can call Wajer at 207-522-8224.

For information on Lincoln County’s composting operation, please visit http://www.lincolncountymaine.me/pg_compost.htm. Information about food scrap recycling and composting in general is also available at https://garbagetogarden.org/.

The next meeting will be held at 6 pm on November 21 at the Willing Workers Hall in New Harbor, with dinner again catered by Deb’s Diner and staff. Representative Mick Devin will speak about renewable marine resources with an update on activities at the Darling Center. To make reservations, please contact John Janell at 207-563-7402.

To learn more about the Bristol Area Lions Club, serving Bristol and South Bristol, call Walt Johansson at 207-677-2584.

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