An Introduction by Susan Thoman

The Compost Manufacturing Alliance (CMA) partners have pioneered the compost production industry for decades. We are comprised of some of the most accomplished compost industry pioneers and thought leaders, and we continue to work to innovate programs, expand capacity, and develop vertical programs and funding to make composting and compostable products manufacturing collaboratively more economically sustainable.

CMA was formed to address gaps between well-established and necessary lab standards for compostable products and the processing realities of facilities receiving them. Our vision three years ago was to come together to provide a “space” to connect supply chain professionals with large composting operations. We have also challenged the “status quo” by breaking down barriers between two intricately entwined industries that require close, consistent and mutual engagement for collective success, as both industries feel the pressure to compost more, encourage landfill diversion for single use food service packaging, eliminate non-compostables plastics in the solid waste system to clean up recycling and compost streams, and inspire more compost usage across the U.S.

CMA’s program goes beyond the  traditional “one size fits all” process for defining compostables by bridging the compost manufacturing industry with product developers to encourage strategic engagement to “raise all ships” by addressing gaps, encouraging continuous improvement in product design, addressing infrastructure challenges, and creating “business to business” engagement models.  

We are humbled to report that our approach is attracting a growing number of top companies and organizations, both domestically and internationally, that see what we see and want to work toward a more cohesive future together.

In reflecting on the last three years, we are proud to say that we have accomplished many things we had set out to do, while we have also been given unexpected opportunities to explore new areas of research and study well suited to our team and resources.

As we enter our fourth year, we thank the many compost facilities, brands, manufacturing companies, and municipalities that have supported and funded us, entrusting our experience and work to move us all closer to a more refined circular economy model within our industry around compostables and food scrap recovery. Looking ahead, we will work to initiate and continue our efforts in:

With that, our vision is 2020 on the clarity of our purpose and mission for 2020. We look forward to continuing to listen and engage with compostable product end users and manufacturers, while expanding our plans to tell the story “on the ground” of our compost industry partners and affiliates. Please join our effort to inspire mutually beneficial dialogue and engagement around the compostable products manufacturing industry and large-scale commercial compost producers. If there are topics you would like to see us cover, please write us at, and we welcome your thoughts and ideas on ways we can continue to bridge important information and experience gaps within both industries.