Charlotte Airport Vermicomposting Update

Yesterday I received 4 or 5 e-mails pointing me in the direction of a very cool article about the giant vermicomposting system in operation at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport (thanks again, everyone!). It’s always really exciting to receive news like this – about “real world” initiatives involving vermicomposting – but I was extra-excited in this case since I’ve been wondering what ended up happening with this project.

As some of you may recall, I originally wrote about this in November, 2011 (see “North Carolina Airport to Start Vermicomposting – in a BIG Way!” – but I never heard any more about it. These sorts of things can often get off to a great start on paper (and in early planning sessions etc), but it’s not uncommon for a wrench to end up in the works somewhere down the line – even before anything really gets off the ground (No pun intended! lol).

It’s fantastic to see this one really moving along so well – especially given how large-scale the project is.

Here is a blurb from the article:

In the four months since this operation got under way, trash going from the Charlotte airport to the landfill is down an impressive 70 percent. Recyclables are crushed, baled and sold for cash. There are shirts sorted and laundered and donated, and plastic cups collected. (The shirts come from people who toss clothing when they suddenly discover their suitcases are too heavy.)

The organic stuff — waste from airport restaurants, food scraps off planes, and the half-eaten Cinnabon that a traveler has tossed out — mixes in a big tank for a few days to start the composting process. Then it’s time for the stars of this show to take over.

Be sure to check out the full article here: “One Airport’s Trash Is 2 Million Worms’ Treasure

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    • John W.
    • January 2, 2013

    After reading the article and looking at the first one too…I wonder how they are getting the compost out of taht system. Looks like it could be a nightmare to get compost out and not take all the worms too. I guess they consulted a professional and I am sure it is easier than it looks.

    • Karen
    • January 2, 2013

    There’s also a little info on it at

    • Bentley
    • January 3, 2013

    Thanks for sharing that link, Karen!

    John – I am pretty sure these are flow-through beds so separation of vermicompost from the worms shouldn’t be too difficult as long as they keep the levels of material in the bin fairly high (does look a little on the low side in the video).

    • Ben
    • January 10, 2013

    I saw this when it was posted and thought I recognized the bins they were using. And since it’s an Oregon company and I’m in Oregon, I figured… “hey, Oregon pride, better be sure before I start bragging! So I emailed the company, and though they hadn’t seen the article yet, they confirmed what I suspected. This is their site: and the email they sent me is below:
    Hello Ben

    Thank you for making us aware that NPR conducted this interview. We did make and install those units at the airport. Please feel free to call or email us with any other articles you discover or if you have any questions.


    Jacob Harvey

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