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Charlotte Airport Opens Worm Composting Facility

Charlotte Airport Opens Worm Composting Facility

by Sarah Shultz for Diets in Review

The nation’s tenth busiest airport, Charlotte Douglas International, sees about forty million passengers annually. Forty million passengers, among other things, generate a lot of trash, approximately half a pound per person. That’s why officials have implemented a new system to cut down on waste sent to the landfill  using some unusual participants: almost 2 million worms.

Yes, worms, the kind you find in your backyard and in fishing tackle boxes. They’re nature’s composters, and they’re being enlisted to help manage the millions of pounds of waste the airport generates.

From bathroom paper towels to half-eaten hamburgers to coffee cups, many products soon find their way to the hungry worms. First, the trash is sorted by workers and recyclables are sifted out, baled and sold. In four months, 68 thousand dollars were made from selling the recyclables. Clothing items also are retrieved, washed and sold, the result of travelers quickly needing to lighten their bags before boarding flights. All of the organic material is then mixed together and the worms get to work.

The 300 pounds of worms eat half their weight each day, creating a rich compost that will then be used to fertilize the airport’s six thousand acres of grounds. Up to two tons of airport waste can be processed daily by the worms. The extra fertilizer, considered “black gold” by gardeners, will then be sold.

The most lucrative part of this whole process, however, is not the money made through selling recyclables and compost, but the money that will be saved. The airport spends almost a million dollars annually in hauling waste and landfill fees. With the new composting and recycling program, waste levels have gone down seventy percent, resulting in less waste than virtually any other airport.

In five years, airport officials expect to not only have recouped their money, 1.2 million to set up the operation, but to be turning a profit.

Other airports are taking notice. Interest in these worm composting operations, called vermicomposting, has increased considerably in recent years, with small and large scale composting being implemented in various places in the United States and abroad. This is the first airport to install a vermicompost system, but if it proves sustainable, may very well not be the last.

Also Read:

Worm Composting Helps Clean Up Heavy Metals

United Nations Supports Organic Farming to Fight World Hunger

A Mom’s Guide to Growing Your Family Green

Read more: Eco-friendly tips, Green, Lawns & Gardens, Reduce, Recycle & Reuse, , , , , ,

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60 comments

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12:52AM PDT on Apr 11, 2013

Great to hear that more people are getting on board of the worm composting train for a healthier environment! It is so clean and easy and can be done without virtually spending a dime!!!

Every household should convert their kitchen- and garden waste with the help of worms into nutrient rich soil conditioner and plant food!

To find out about how to start a worm farm at home with "NO Cost" involved check this out!

http://www.worm-composting-help.com/crazy-worm-bin.html

Start composting with worms in 5 Minutes!

Every worm farm helps!

kind regards

Stephan

12:52AM PDT on Apr 11, 2013

Great to hear that more people are getting on board of the worm composting train for a healthier environment! It is so clean and easy and can be done without virtually spending a dime!!!

Every household should convert their kitchen- and garden waste with the help of worms into nutrient rich soil conditioner and plant food!

To find out about how to start a worm farm at home with "NO Cost" involved check this out!

http://www.worm-composting-help.com/crazy-worm-bin.html

Start composting with worms in 5 Minutes!

Every worm farm helps!

kind regards

Stephan

3:31PM PST on Jan 21, 2013

Oh this is wonderful! What a wonderful idea they have. And looks like it is working so YAY for them, now to get more business on board.

10:26AM PST on Jan 18, 2013

great idea, thanks for sharing :)

6:59AM PST on Jan 16, 2013

Thank you Brandi, for Sharing this!

10:18PM PST on Jan 11, 2013

My hat off to Charlotte Airport. Well done!

8:37PM PST on Jan 9, 2013

Now, are they doing it as a display in the airport --- like an ant farm? That would make it worth going to Charlotte Airport.

12:19PM PST on Jan 8, 2013

vermicomposting can be done inside your home also. look up instructions on line.

5:34PM PST on Jan 7, 2013

And of course, Monsanto has declared earthworms a threat to their GM crops. Amazing. Earthworms are a sign of nutrient rich, healthy soil. Prime and ready for plants to thrive.

6:48PM PST on Jan 6, 2013

This is an awesome story. I have been wanting to do this with my own food scraps. Great Job!!!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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