Louisville, KY, Marketing Fertilizer Made from Trash

From the Lexington Herald-Leader, news of an interesting approach to addressing garbage and landfill issues:

Don Hayes never thought a trash product would result in a boom in the soybean crop.

Hayes, a Meade County farmer, used Louisville Green, a fertilizer made from trash that would otherwise be put into landfills by Louisville’s Metropolitan Sewer District.

“I think definitely the potential is there … and I see that as being an environmental thing,” Hayes said. “They aren’t putting the stuff in the landfill anymore.”

The process of creating the pellets made from human and pre-treated industrial wastes has gone through the usual process of trial and error, but the product finally seems to be catching on:

In January, MSD sent about 1,900 tons of the pellets for disposal at the Outer Loop landfill and sold or gave away 148 tons. In May, during the peak of its use on farms, there was a flip: nearly 2,400 tons used as fertilizer, with just 131 tons going to the landfill.

This is an interesting concept, and as a concept I think it has promise. In practice, though, I have to wonder about the wastes that go into the fertilizer, and whether the final product is any “greener” than conventional chemical fertilizers as far as it’s impact on soil.

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