Employer of The Week: From combat to Veteran Compost

Julia LeDoux
May 11, 2020 - 4:04 pm
Veteran Compost

Veteran Compost

Here’s a fun fact about our Employer of the Week.

Veteran Compost started with a discovery by its founder that led him to start the company.

“I saw that two-thirds of everything going to the landfill every day could be composted,” said Justen Garrity. 

That discovery led him to found the environmentally-friendly company that collects food waste in Maryland and Virginia and turns it into compost that is then sold to the public 10 years ago.

“We do everything from little seven gallon bins on people’s doorsteps and homes to large commercial dumpsters,” he explained.

It takes about 90 days to turn the food waste into compost 

Veteran Compost

Garrity was in the Army ROTC in college and went active duty Army the day he graduated, spending five years as a combat engineer officer and another five in the National Guard. Returning from a tour in Iraq in 2009, he began searching for opportunities in the field of green businesses and hit upon the idea of starting a composting business.

“There really was nobody doing it back then,” he said. 

Gerrity said for the first six months he was in business, no one signed up for the service.

“It was pretty spectacular how much money we lost,” he said. “It took 18 months to get to a breakeven point.”

A decade later, the company has 25 full-time employees and focuses on hiring veterans and their family members. Garrity said that’s personally important to him because of the high unemployment rate among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

“It’s really a struggle for us to find labor,” he admitted. “We do primarily hire veterans and family members of veterans.”

Veteran Compost leases 80 acres of property in Aberdeen, Maryland which includes a 30-acre farm. It also has a location in Fairfax, Virginia, and is in the permitting process for a location in Lothian, Maryland. 

Reach Julia LeDoux at Julia@connectingvets.com.

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