From: MPR
Published February 9, 2009 08:49 AM

Food: the next frontier in recycling

It turns out a lot of what we throw in the garbage is stuff that could be composted. Stuff like food scraps, used Kleenex and greasy pizza cartons.

In Duluth, the Sanitary District runs a compost site that turns 50-foot-long piles of anything you can think of into compost. The district's Susan Darley-Hill calls these piles "windrows" because they look like giant rows of hay, only brown. It takes a couple of days to put together enough material to make these windrows, and each one has a small electric pump at the end to force air through it.

"When the windrow is complete, we turn that air on, and that will circulate through the pile," Darley-Hill explains. "That keeps the 'bugs' as we call them, the microorganism, well supplied with oxygen, which is a really critical part of digestion process."


A thermometer with a long stem reaches deep into the pile.

"It looks like it's reading about 143 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a great temperature," says Darley-Hill. "It's probably about 10 degrees outside right now but it's really toasty-warm inside."

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