Dealflow | January 12, 2022

Generate acquires Atlas Organics amid growing demand for composting

Amy Cortese
ImpactAlpha Editor

Amy Cortese

ImpactAlpha, Jan. 12 – Sustainable infrastructure company Generate Capital has acquired Atlas Organics in a deal that will inject $200 million into the Spartanburg, S.C.-based composter to expand its operations nationwide. 

The acquisition marks a foray into composting for Generate. The public benefit corp. is already one of the largest organic waste processors in North America, with biodigesters that convert 250,000 tons of food waste a year into renewable natural gas, clean electricity and fertilizer. It comes as a growing number of municipalities are adopting composting to divert food waste from landfills and incineration. 

Food waste is the top source of trash in landfills, contributing methane to the atmosphere as it decomposes. Just over 4% of wasted food is composted. More than 50 million tons of compostable waste was sent to landfills or incinerated in 2015 alone, enough to fill a line of fully-loaded 18-wheelers stretching from New York City to Los Angeles ten times, according to the U.S. PIRG

Atlas Organics operates eight composting facilities across the Southeast U.S.  Founders Joseph McMillin and Gary NihartAtlas will continue to run the company. 

Waste not 

The deal comes amid growing interest in waste recycling and waste-to-value solutions. Already this year, General Atlantic’s BeyondNetZero fund invested $70 million in Roadrunner Recycling to help companies manage recycling flows. And L.A.-based textile recycler Ambercycle raised almost $22 million from a group of investors.