Blackmer a source for Portland Press Herald composting story

University of Maine economist Travis Blackmer talked with the Portland Press Herald about composting companies looking for new customers outside of Maine in order to continue growing. Three quarters of food waste in Maine goes to landfills or incinerators, according to the story, and there’s a push to shift that waste to compost farms and biomass boilers to improve recycling rates and reduce the amount of trash going to landfills. But there’s a shrinking pool of garbage in southern Maine and to keep growing, some companies are bringing in waste from out-of-state customers. “They probably have mostly all saturated the bigger customers on the Interstate 95 corridor from Kennebunk to Augusta,” says Blackmer, adding that may explain why fewer than 10 food waste collection companies operate in the state, and why none serve large areas farther north, including Lewiston and Bangor. Without municipally funded programs to collect residential food waste, the market likely will stay small and concentrated in southern Maine, says Blackmer, who researches the solid waste industry. “Municipal curbside collection is the growth model for composting. We might be two years away from that, five years away — it may never come.” The Associated Press also reported on the story, citing the Press Herald article and Blackmer. The Washington Times and WRAL in North Carolina carried the AP report.