Nashville prison composting saves money and the Earth

Composting is a great way to recycle. I’m in my second year of composting, I’m not as successful as this prison program in Nashville. Composting is a great idea for schools, prisons, hospitals, zoos and other public facilities. And it is somewhat simple.

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By Anne Paine • THE TENNESSEAN • August 9, 2009

About 13,000 pounds of leftover foodstuffs from the state prison facilities in Nashville are hauled each week to the now-closed, castle-shaped former prison off Centennial Boulevard.

The leftovers are mixed with wood chips and mounded in rows to decompose.

Instead of paying to have the waste buried in a landfill, the remains of the meals for about 2,300 inmates cook themselves into a rich soil additive that is spread on the prison’s 100-acre vegetable garden.

“Just with the Davidson County site alone, it saves us about $150,000 a year,” said Tennessee Department of Corrections Commissioner George Little.

The prison has savings from composting and recycling at prisons throughout the state, which officials estimate total $445,900 in savings and revenue.

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NP NowPublic

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