NewTerra Compost on a mission to reduce food waste in Chattanooga, TN

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Composting in Nooga | Photo provided

Table of Contents


  • A head of lettuce can last up to 25 years in a landfill.
  • Food waste takes up the most space in landfills.
  • Americans waste approximately a pound of food per person each day (depending on diet), meaning in Chattanooga, we waste about 180,000 pounds of food per day, or 65.7 million pounds per year.
  • As a planet, we annually waste 1.3 billion tons of food — enough to feed three billion people.

That’s all a little overwhelming, huh? While we don’t expect Noogans to fix the planet, we do have a cool new local opportunity to help divert food waste from our landfills — NewTerra Compost.

After a neighborhood compost trial last summer, founders Normand Lavoie + Michael Ryan officially launched the business in December. In just one month, they hauled 12,000 pounds of food residuals to their 20-acre compost site.

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The 20-acre compost site | Photo provided by NewTerra

Three things you should know about NewTerra

  1. Their mission is to make diverting food residuals easy for residential + commercial customers.
  2. They help from the start in building a process that works for your restaurant, office, event, or family.
  3. They are looking for neighborhoods interested in trialing a pickup service. Do you live in a tight knit neighborhood that would like to trial compost pick-up? Let them know.

I’m convinced — what now?


As a resident, you can sign up to receive a compost bucket. Residents will pick up their bucket from a kiosk of their choosing + use that same kiosk to drop off residuals once a week. As a residential member you will also receive finished compost in return, or you can donate it to a nonprofit or community garden. You’ll also have a metric tracker when you log in to your account to see your environmental impact in action.

Bonus: Sign up before the end of January to be a founding member + receive a T-shirt and sticker.

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Co-founder Michael Ryan at a kiosk | Photo provided by NewTerra


Because each business + institution is different, NewTerra will help develop individual plans for business owners + managers. Commercial members will have their residuals picked up. If you own a business and want to learn more, go here.

These local businesses are founding members:

We’ll leave you with this: food does not become food waste until it hits a landfill.


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