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Omaha-area's only industrial compost farm makes local soil and mulch

Posted at 4:33 AM, Apr 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 08:14:49-04

Hillside Solutions is a waste hauling company that operates Gretna Sanitation and Soil Dynamics.

April 22, 2021 may be Earth Day, but this company puts the meaning behind the day into action. They run the only industrial compost farm in the Omaha area.

Unlike a backyard compost pile, they can take more than food scraps and yard waste.

"In an industrial site, we can take meat, dairy, bones, compostable papers, restaurants have a lot of compostable take-out serviceware," said Brent Crampton, Director of Partnerships.

"Most people understand recycling, people make things and we're going to reuse those things, that's recycling. Composting is nature makes things and we're going to reuse things that nature makes," Crampton said.

They've teamed up with a couple dozen schools, as well as area businesses to collect their compost and turn it into soil.

The soil-making process takes about a year.

Their main facility is in Ashland, but they have a transfer location near the Omaha airport. You can see local trees being turned into mulch. You can also buy the local soil and mulch.

Their Gretna Sanitation operation also has a fleet of trucks that runs on compressed natural gas. Black Hills Energy offered them incentives when they switched to CNG because the vehicles minimize environmental impacts by reducing greenhouse gas emissions while using domestic fuel.

Some of those trucks help with their Compost Club program which is open to the public. For a monthly fee, you have access to drop off compostable materials at designated sites. Then you can get soil back or donate soil credits to places like The Big Garden. The non-profit says it has benefited from the program.

"So far we've had people donate 111 cubic feet of soil credits. I don't know how many pickup trucks that is, but it's a lot of compost that's going to be coming our way," said Jaimee Trobough with The Big Garden.

From those who make food and discard the scraps to those who use the composted soil to grow more food, Trobough and Crampton both said they appreciate the partnership and community created through local businesses and organizations. They said it helps with the mission of limiting waste and helping the environment.

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