Go Green OC (copy)

Josh Chamberlain and Garvey Heiderman, founders of Go Green OC, set a goal for 2022 to divert 500,000 pounds of food waste from the waste stream and have it converted into clean, usable compost. Now, Heiderman is asking Worcester County officials to establish zoning ordinances surrounding food waste composting facilities for future expansion.

One of the founding members of an organization focused on removing food waste from the waste stream of Ocean City to have it converted into compost received a favorable recommendation from the Worcester County Planning Commission last Thursday to establish zoning for future food composting facilities.

At a meeting with the commission, Garvey Heiderman of Go Green OC said his organization has been operating under a transient use permit for the last two years. That permit, he said, is about to expire.

When the transient use permit was issued, there was no precedent for operating a composting facility, and now that Heiderman’s composting program has been in place for two years, he saw it fit to have zoning code in place for future expansion.

Heiderman and his organization has had an agreement with Ocean City since last year to pull food waste from a handful of restaurants, including his own, The Hobbit, as well as Mother’s Cantina, Raw Organics, and Fish Tales.

Removing the waste from the stream saves the county money, especially when it comes to landfill expenses. Ocean City’s waste is transported off the island to a facility in Pennsylvania, and since his program has been in place, Heiderman explained, the city has saved money.

“We are scratching the surface for what we can do, but every little bit helps,” he said.

Since the transient use permit was issued, Heiderman also said, there have been no complaints and no required oversight from the Maryland Department of the Environment.

Getting a zoning ordinance in place that allows food waste composting facilities not only paves the pathway to success for the current facility, but it also paves the way for future composting facilities to be created countywide.

Mary Knight, a member of the commission, spoke highly of the program, telling Heiderman, “I know the citizens and I thank you for it.”

Knight moved to give a favorable recommendation to establish zoning for food waste composting facilities – her motion was unanimously approved.

This story appears in the Sept. 9, 2022 print edition of the OC Today.

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