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Hillsborough County compost facility highlights turning yard waste into reusable, profitable materials

Hillsborough County compost facility highlights turning yard waste into reusable, profitable materials
Posted at 4:30 PM, Apr 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-22 10:21:30-04

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY — When most of us take our yard waste out to the curb for pick up we don’t think twice about where it’s going, we’re just glad it’s gone. Hillsborough County is using Earth Day as a reminder to residents, they are working every day to recycle that waste into reusable compost.

The county is bringing in an average of 100 tons of yard waste a day, six days a week. Those working take tons of yard clippings and other bio-degradable materials to create the compost soil treatments. This is a sharp change for these products, as they are traditionally used for landscaping or cover at landfills.

Hillsborough County compost facility highlights turning waste into reusable, profitable materials

“This process we are doing here is saving the county on average $500,000 to $600,000 a year, it’s a super high number,” Hillsborough Co. compost facility manager Ron Wiesman said.

Wiesman oversees the entire process, which takes between 70 and 90 days, before the compost is ready to be shipped out.

“I’m very proud of this, this is a great product, the people who are getting it," Wiesman said. "I hear it is the citrus industry, they are really enjoying this product, it’s helping their orange trees."

Few other Florida counties do this process themselves. It’s very detailed, for instance reaching the right temperature to kill pathogens. Wiesman examined one of the piles and noted it had exceeded the right condition by 10 degrees and it will continue climb.

The county also invested in the most state of the art equipment available, which maximizes their time. In total, there are less than 10 employees who run the 3,000 acre facility.

“We can’t stop, we haven’t stopped for COVID, we’ve worked non-stop out here six days a week," Wiesman said. "The weather, we still got to work, yea they are the unsung heroes of the compost world out here."

On Saturday, Hillsborough Co. is embracing Earth Day by inviting the public to take home five gallon buckets of compost for free. For more information on the Earth Day event, click here.