Lindbergh Field recycling coffee into compost

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compost1Some of the biggest purveyors of the coffee bean are airports, and the biggest airport in town, is, of course, Lindbergh Field. The tons and tones of grounds used for all the coffee served were just being dumped as garbage. Now, San Diego International Airport has come up with a very green idea to put those grounds into use in the ground.

America’s Finest City’s main airport is the first in the U.S. to establish a formal program to recycle almost all food and drink waste on a sustainable basis. 25% of all the food waste at the airport is coffee grounds, adding up to 6 tons per month. Now, all of it is recycled into compost.compost2

There are currently twelve different coffee vendors at Lindbergh and they are all part of the grounds recycling program. HMSHost, the largest food provider at the airport came up with the plan after one of their managers took notice of the amount of food being disposed of at the facility. A spokesperson for HMSHost related how seeing the large number of garbage containers filled with food prompted the notion to make use of the supply of materials for environmentally-friendly purposes such as compost.

Not only is the project sustainable, it actually saves the airport more than $4,000 a year on disposal costs. Everyone can go to the Miramar Greenery and obtain free compost made from the airport’s coffee grounds. The Greenery is located at 5180 Convoy Street in San Diego, inside the City’s Miramar Landfill, North of Highway 52.

compost3At the Greenery, the compost is produced from coffee grounds and other items such as yard trimmings and food scraps. The waste is ground, put into windrows, then watered and turned over. This process lasts for two and a half month. Microorganisms eat up the nitrogen and carbon in the mix, allowing the windrows to maintain heat at a temperature of up to 165 degrees. The procedure gets rid of almost all weed seeds and other pathogens. The organic substances are broken down into nutrients needed to enrich soil for growing. Before being ready for the garden, the compost is fed through one-half inch wide screening, eliminating the plastic from the compost.

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