The Food Journal and Food, Nutrition & Science

An alliance between The Lempert Report and The Center for Food Integrity

Chesapeake Compost Works

Chesapeake Compost Works


April 28, 2013

Chesapeake Compost Works recycles organic waste materials, including wood chips, leaves, and food scraps, into healthy fertile soil that can be used in gardens, farms, and landscapes throughout the Chesapeake region in Maryland. We talked to Vinnie Bevivino, Chesapeake Compost Works’ owner, about the need to create products and services that can serve to sustain our neighborhoods, businesses, and ecosystems.

What was the inspiration for creating Chesapeake Compost and how does it work? 

The inspiration for starting Chesapeake Compost Works was the lack of food waste composting infrastructure in the region. Both sides of the business – processing food waste and creating high quality compost – was lacking and needed to be addressed. I saw that starting the facility addressed these two deficiencies.

What kinds of food waste do you target?

We compost both pre-consumer and post-consumer food waste. The reason is mostly opportunistic, that is where the demand is. Pre-consumer food waste is often free of contamination and therefore cleaner, but the high population density in the area means that there are plenty of demand from restaurants, cafeterias, and other post-consumer sources. 

How have you been able to merge commerce with sustainable business practices?

Creating a company that is not only financially sustainable but also environmentally sustainable and beneficial to the surrounding community has been a top priority for me. Just like composting is re-thinking the waste system, this is re-thinking business. The truth is that it isn't too hard. When you create a business that isn't at odds with its neighbors, that people want to work for, and people want to support, its a win-win situation.

Can you explain how you are “bridging the gap” in the organic waste stream?

The mid-Atlantic has a need for more organics recycling infrastructure, so we're bridging the gap by creating what we saw was the most needed piece of the puzzle: a composting facility. We're the missing link that is processing food scraps into something marketable, creating a cycle of waste and not a linear line that leads to the landfill or incinerator.   

What's the future of the company? Where do you think you'll have the biggest impact?

The immediate future is getting the company efficient, at capacity, and marketing a high quality compost to a variety of consumers. Once we've tested the market, shown success, and evaluated opportunities I wouldn't be surprised if we expanded our capacity at our current location, opened a second location, or entered into other areas of the compost cycle such as deepening our partnerships with haulers, restaurants, farmers, and landscapers.