Leaders For Litter-Free Tennessee: Joe Hoffman

During these times, outdoor recreation has seen an influx of folks who aren’t recreating responsibly. Overcrowding in areas like Laurel Falls of the Cherokee National Forest, Dolly Sods in West Virginia, and Max Patch along the Appalachian Trail has contributed to an increase in pollution and trail erosion. Follow along as we feature local leaders for a litter-free Tennessee and ways you can help reduce your footprint on our lands.

Joe Hoffman of Hoffman Composting has dedicated his life’s work to keeping recyclables out of the landfill and waterways by repurposing them into our local communities! Running a Composting Facility is more than just turning trash into primo dirt. Hoffman Composting has been around for five years and counting, and here’s an insider look at what goes on behind the scenes. 

Are you familiar with recycling food scraps?

It’s just like taking your plastic jugs and tin cans to the recycling facility. Eggshells, coffee grinds, meat, cheese, and bones- it’s all recyclable! Some folks do this at home, however, not all food scraps can be properly composted without the right amount of heat and aeration.

That’s where Joe comes in.

Any and all food scraps can be recycled at Hoffman Composting. Yes, even bone scraps! Hoffman Composting offers a residential collection service, just like setting your trash by the curb. There is also a drop-off option where you can bring your food scraps, as well as any metals, right to the facility free of charge.

Starting at the processing plant

Food scraps are collected & dumped into mounds where proper heat and aeration are calculated for decomposing the recyclables. 

After the material has processed on the processing pad for a month, it is relocated into windrows to cure for another four months.

Finally, the material is brought onto the concrete pad to go through a vibrating screen. Once screened, the finished product is ready to be sold. The “Premium” mulch is a combination of food scraps, leaves, and wood chips screen compost. There is also the “Bed-builder,” which is a leaf compost with soil.

By recycling your table food scraps rather than throwing them in the trash, Hoffman Composting is creating sustainable mulch and saving space in our local landfill right here in Johnson City.

Joe explains the process of recycling food scraps at his processing plant below:

If you are looking for an activity to get outside and off the couch while still social distancing during the pandemic, put your volunteer shoes on and head to the hills! We take pride in our beautiful mountain scenery in Northeast Tennessee and want to protect it for generations to come. We need YOU to join us and local leaders for a litter-free Tennessee!