Tessa Rosenberry, co-owner of ScrapDogs Community Compost, loads food waste last Friday into a pickup truck in Augusta to be hauled to a commercial composting facility. The Midcoast-based company recently began offering curbside composting service to customers in Augusta, Fairfield, Hallowell, Waterville, Winslow and other central Maine communities. Aryan Rai/Kennebec Journal

AUGUSTA — Residents in the Kennebec Valley now have a more sustainable alternative to chucking food waste into a trash bin.

They can have it picked up from their doorstep, to be turned into compost.

ScrapDogs Community Compost, based in the Midcoast town of Washington, has expanded its operation to cover parts of central Maine, including Augusta, Fairfield, Hallowell, Waterville and Winslow.

For some communities in the region, it is the first service of its kind. For others, it brings back a convenience that went away when a similar company stopped serving the area.

The cost of subscribing to ScrapDogs ranges from $15 to $51 a month, depending on whether the resident or business opts to have one or two buckets of waste picked up and the frequency of the pickups. The fee also gets users up to a half-yard of processed compost to use in their gardens, if desired.

Tessa Rosenberry, a co-owner of ScrapDogs, said she drives for hours collecting waste from residents and businesses along her route. 


On a normal day, Rosenberry starts in Rockport, then picks up waste from the St. Michael School on Sewall Street in Augusta — one of the first partners the company had in the region. Next, Rosenberry stops by a handful of residences in Augusta and Hallowell, before heading north to Waterville, where there are more than 50 subscribers.

ScrapDogs Community Compost, a Midcoast-based company that has recently begun serving central Maine, picks up food waste from customers’ driveways and turns it into compost. Above, a ScrapDogs composting bucket last Friday in Augusta. Aryan Rai/Kennebec Journal

On Friday, the route was cut short as snow blanketed streets and trees, and forecasters predicted 5 inches of snow would fall throughout the day. Rosenberry received on a call with her partner, Davis Saltonstall, and the pair decided to postpone pickups until Sunday for safety reasons. But before that, Rosenberry made one quick stop.

She parked at a house, got out of the truck, walked to a bucket that sat on the sidewalk, picked it up, put it into the trailer attached to her truck and replaced it with an empty one. Next week, she would return to repeat the process.

“I prefer sunnier weather,” Rosenberry said Friday as she drove her pickup truck cautiously through Augusta. “But we have been very lucky. Even with minimal marketing, the company is growing.”

Rosenberry and Saltonstall founded ScrapDogs in 2018 after having worked briefly in waste diversion and consulting.

“My business partner and I met in college at NYU (New York University) through an environmental group, and after graduating in 2016, we worked briefly for a zero-waste consultation organization,” Saltonstall said. “So it has kind of been garbage for us from the beginning.” 


Following a survey done in Rockport, Saltonstall’s hometown, the pair realized there was demand for composting and decided to utilize their network and experience to provide the option to local customers.

Composting is a productive alternative to managing waste, reducing demand on landfills and cutting emissions. According to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, more than 40% of the waste stream comprises organic waste that can be composted.

“For us,” Saltonstall said, “it’s about avoiding emissions, building soils and making a viable, usable product using food waste and turning it into a resource.”

The collected waste is taken to the company’s processing facility in Washington, where it is mixed with manures to balance carbon and nitrogen. The mixture is cooked at a particular temperature and left to rest for three to six months, after which the compost is delivered to residents.

Since last October, the company has had 275,000 pounds of organic material diverted to its composting facility, Saltonstall said.

Composting and curbside service are new to some municipalities in central Maine. In Hallowell, the Public Works Department offers to pick up bagged leaves to be turned into compost, but there is no similar option for food scraps, Supervisor Tom Goraj said.


The Hatch Hill landfill in Augusta, which takes in waste from throughout the capital area, does not compost food — just leaves and grass.

In Waterville, residents have the option to compost by dropping off food waste at the Public Works Department compound at 6 Wentworth Court. The city pays Agricycle to haul it away to be composted. Garbage to Garden formerly offered curbside pickup in Waterville, but the company now focuses on serving southern Maine.

“We are friendly with the guy who runs (Garbage to Garden),” Rosenberry said, “and we heard that he was thinking of stepping back from Waterville, so we reached out to him.”

In the future, Rosenberry and Saltonstall hope to offer curbside and drop-off options in central Maine.

“We are hoping to open a drop-off station in either Augusta or Waterville by next year,” Saltonstall said. “We are also hoping to continue conversations with local public works departments to see if we can find other options.”

Rosenberry said municipalities play a major role in composting, from laying out infrastructure to partnering up with local organizations. She and Saltonstall plan to speak with public works departments and local waste management or climate action committees in central Maine to see what can be done.

“In urban communities, there is a uniform way for everyone to do it,” Rosenberry said, “but in Maine, there are too many ways. In my ideal future, composting should be free, where municipalities and organizations just offer people an option to compost. The state of Maine is playing its part, too. I hope that more and more policies will drive decisions in the future.”

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