Add a new superhero to the friendly skies above Charlotte, NC.
Full time Charlotte-Douglas International Airport housekeeping manager (and new Our Food News personal inspiration) Bob Lucas was aghast at the volume of waste generated by travelers, airlines, and commercial support at his workplace.
As described on a recent NPR All Things Considered segment, the trained electrician convinced the facility to launch an ambitious recycling program to reduce the million dollars a year spent on landfill and waste removal. Within the first few months of operation, Mr. Lucas was succeeding spectacularly, reducing the volume trucked to the landfill by 70 percent.
But it’s in the area of food waste management that the program really shone. In a series of 50-foot long compost bins, gorging themselves on the organic bounty remaining after all the solid waste has been removed, are millions of common backyard red wigglers. These worms turn, and they spin cash. The airport expects the diligent diners to produce enough fertilizer to maintain the landscaping of the entire facility. In fact, the whole program is projected to be self sustaining and turing a profit within five years.
Under-used landfills and blooming lawns — what a good deal for all users of this forward looking operation!