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New service helps out with composting

Parts of Bethlehem open to a pilot curbside pick up composting program

Empire Zero co-founder Tyler Holloway, hauls away food waste to be composted. His company is beginning a residential pilot program in Bethlehem in hopes of reducing the average homeowner’s carbon footprint.

Empire Zero co-founder Tyler Holloway, hauls away food waste to be composted. His company is beginning a residential pilot program in Bethlehem in hopes of reducing the average homeowner’s carbon footprint.

— “We are very pleased that Empire Zero chose to begin its residential pilot in the Town of Bethlehem due to the level of interest shown by our residents,” said Rain. “Now those households who don’t have the time or space for backyard composting have a convenient curbside pickup option.”

Holloway said he began his Castleton-based business with his father a year ago. His father has worked in the food waste management business at the national level, and after Holloway graduated from school, he asked his father about starting a business that was more local.

“I wanted to do something different and that made me feel good because I was helping not only my community, but the environment,” he said.

They began composting locally last April through a partnership with Schenectady County Community College. They soon expanded their business to include other area schools and hospitals. They are now starting a new joint venture with Bountiful Bread in Albany so the restaurant can eventually become food waste free.

“We know the restaurant business is very fast paced, but we think it can be done with the right training and by taking a few extra steps,” said Holloway. He is hoping other local restaurants will be willing to sign on in the future, along with the company expanding its residential services.

Holloway said he feels Bethlehem was the perfect place to launch the company’s residential program because of the dense population and the town’s environmentally friendly mentality.

Rain said Bethlehem has always been an innovative town when it comes to recycling, with one of the oldest recycling programs in the state. He said having curbside food waste pick up would allow residents to be ahead of the rest of the state when it comes to composting.

Rain said Massachusetts, Vermont and Connecticut have either banned or are setting up a timeline to ban food waste from landfills. The Department of Environmental Conservation is already looking into the matter and New York City is launching its own pilot programs, so Rain feels it’s only a matter of time before the state implements a ban, as well.

“We don’t want to be known as just another hauling company,” said Holloway. “We want to give folks the option of having a zero waste household or business.”

To sign up for the composting service, visit www.empirezerowaste.com. The company would like those interested in the service but not in the pilot zone to fill out a form, as well, for possible future expansions.

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