STONINGTON—The select board voted on September 21 to let Kate Tomkins, founder of Chickadee Compost, begin limited composting operations at the town’s transfer station for six months. She’s hoping to expand eventually throughout the island and peninsula with help from the state and a Bangor engineering firm.
Tomkins, a Brooksville native, comes from the nonprofit world but wants to try to earn a profit from composting.
She recently won a $40,000, two-year grant from the state to compost food scraps, horse manure, sawdust and wood shavings from nine communities from Castine to Surry to Stonington.
Tomkins had planned to start her composting business on land she bought in Brooklin in July, but she got pushback from townspeople, she said.
Now she’s working with CES, Inc., a Bangor engineering firm, to evaluate a potential site in Surry. She didn’t disclose exactly where, and the Surry code enforcement officer did not return several phone calls at press time.
Tomkins said she has a way to go before starting up in Surry. “There is a substantial licensing and permitting process that I must undergo in order to compost there on a commercial scale,” she said in an email.
In the meantime, she said, she wants to get her feet wet at the Stonington transfer station.
How it will work
After running into opposition in Brooklin, Tomkins said she came to Stonington because it has a license to compost at the transfer station, the only town in the area to have one.
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