Welcome to BioBag’s Community Heroes series! Each month, we will highlight community heroes that are making a difference in their communities and working to make their local environments cleaner and healthier.
This month, we are taking a look at the Tidewater Compost!
Tidewater Compost launched our initiative and collection routes in mid June of 2022. Tidewater Compost co-owners Keith Jaffee and Cameron Kania have been best friends since they were young boys at Baylake Pines School. Both born and raised here in Virginia Beach, each traveled extensively in their young adulthoods. Their individual experiences traveling and appreciating other cultures and geographies fostered a mutual connection to nature and our planet. Together, Jaffee and Kania transformed their passion into a mission and business to protect the environment.
Check out our interview below with Cameron Kania to find out more!
What led you to start your composting operation?
Cameron: “We began to research and contact other composters throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, and someone recommended that we watch the ‘Kiss the Ground’ documentary,” said Kania. Narrated by actor Woody Harrelson and available to watch on Netflix, “Kiss the Ground” features scientists and celebrity environmental activists addressing how our soil may be the key to combating climate change. Kania explained, “As the credits of the film disappeared from the screen, Tidewater Compost was born.”
We launched our initiative and collection routes in mid June of 2022. Also, please reference the “About” tab on our website, for some additional background into “How” and “Why” we started Tidewater Compost.
Who do you serve, and how can people get in touch with you if they want to start composting?
Cameron: Based out of Virginia Beach, VA – we now service over 120 members located throughout parts of Hampton Roads (currently servicing members in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Portsmouth). We provide weekly residential and commercial pickup services to the greater Hampton Roads area. Born and raised in Hampton Roads, our ultimate goal is to make composting accessible and affordable to everyone in our local communities. If people are interested in signing up for our services, they can simply visit our website and fill out our submission/sign up form to get started.
How much organic material do you typically take in on a weekly basis?
Cameron: We now collect ~ 1,250 lbs. of materials each week and have diverted nearly 40,000 lbs. of materials since our launch date.
Please give us one fun fact about you or your business.
Cameron: “I’m a financial analyst in the mortgage industry by trade,” explained Kania. “However, my passion lives in gardening and building soil.” His home garden is his haven, and he has enjoyed the fruits of his labor, tangibly and figuratively, for many years.
Jaffee has worked in the produce distribution and restaurant industries for several years. He is also an avid outdoorsman and can be found camping in the mountains or trail running through First Landing State Park on weekends with his pup, Jerry.
Feel free to add any additional information about your operation as you see fit.
In his work, Jaffee sees firsthand the amount of food waste that is generated. At around 80 billion pounds yearly, the United States leads the world in the amount of food discarded by one country. That breaks down to about 220 pounds of food scraps per person thrown out with our garbage, visually about the amount of 650 apples. According to Recycle Track System® (RTS), food is the single largest component of U.S. landfills, making up 22 percent of municipal solid waste.
If you would like to be featured in a future edition of Community Heroes, please email us at email@example.com.