CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Each night thousands of pounds of trash are collected at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.
All that trash is trucked to the airports new recycling center where it is sorted.
Much of it is then ground up for worms. That’s right, one million worms will now consume much of what airline passengers throw away.
“It comes out of the earth and we put it back into the earth,” said Assistant Airport Director Mark Wiebke.
Wiebke admits he never thought tending to the worms, which live inside the recycling center in a long row of wooden boxes, would be part of his job description.
“It is an innovative idea and so it takes some money to do that,” he said.
He is talking about concerns that the center that is supposed to save money, actually wound up costing over $500,000 to operate. That is 28 percent more than was planned.
“So we are tweaking a lot of things here. We’ve been in operation for a little over a year and we know some things don’t work right, and so we’re changing some of the process and some of the equipment,” he said.
While the worms won’t make money, they do make waste and that waste will be turned into fertilizer that will be spread around the airport grounds.
Recycling its own trash has saved the airport on landfill fees.
The worm farm is believed to be the only one of its kind at any airport anywhere.