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Gardening 101: Industrial Composting

Gardening 101: Industrial Composting
Gardening 101: Industrial Composting 02:33

FORT WORTH, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - Composting should be considered a civic duty as well as a gift to your garden or landscape. 

I compost and if you have the space, you should as well. 

It is estimated that almost 30% of material currently getting buried in our Texas landfills could be composted. You can greatly reduce your waste stream at your home by composting your yard trimmings and kitchen scrapes. 

What we do at home isn't nearly enough. There is a tremendous amount of compostable material sent to the landfill from business, industry, restaurants, and cities. To handle this kind of volume, it takes a large amount of cooperation between business and government, but in the end, it has to have a place to go. 

The problem with composting on this scale: it takes a lot of space, a lot of time (the compost process can take up to a year) and some expertise. 

I visited Silver Creek Materials in Fort Worth to check out their massive compost operation. I first found out about them when I did my story on Zoo Poo. They are certified to compost almost anything, including meat and dairy products we as home consumers are told not to compost (don't even try, your home compost pile would never get hot enough and it'll be a pest magnet.)

You can drive to their rather large facility and buy direct from them. If you go, you'll be dumbstruck on the size of their operation.

Across more than five acres of land, the company works massive rows of compost. They are irrigated with massive spray hoses (the spray itself is being composted; it can be water mixed with anything from old beer to thrown-out soda). Huge machines are always working the pile, turning it, adding new material to it or transporting it to final sorting to sale.

When I talked to the CEO and second-generation owner Marshall Dow, he stressed how the company is always working to help reduce the commercial stream of material that is currently going to the landfill. 

He believes he could easily double--if not triple--his compost volume with more cooperation from area businesses and local governments. I am cheering him on. 

Not only is it an expensive waste to throw this stuff into a landfill, carbon-based material (food, plants) produces methane when it rots there. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 27 times more potent than carbon dioxide. 

Why, as a society, are we doing this? When you compost it like Silver Creek does, instead of methane you get food for plants that remove carbon from the atmosphere. 

You can encourage your own business or area restaurant to become part of this solution. Make sure your local city is also sending their tree trimmings and yard waste to a facility like Silver Creek. 

Let's help our soil, not fill up our landfills. You can also drive over to Silver Creek and buy direct from them, encouraging them to grow their compost mountain even taller.

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