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Thoughtful Thursdays: Why (and Where) We Compost

Published February 21, 2013

Last month, National Aquarium staff visited the Chesapeake Compost Works (CCW) facility located right here in Baltimore. The trip had two main objectives: to learn how composting plants work and to get a better sense of where we were sending tons (yes, TONS) of organic waste from our Baltimore venue every week.

The compost piles at the CCW

The compost piles at the CCW. The steam seen here is heat being released from the bacterial "breakdown" of the organic waste.

As a conservation organization, we're always looking for ways to minimize the amount of waste we're putting into the environment.

Three years ago, the Aquarium implemented a composting program in the Harbor Market Kitchen area. The program was later expanded to include visitor areas, waste from the rain forest exhibit and all staff and administrative office areas!

There are labeled compost bins (like this one in our harbor market kitchen) throughout the Aquarium's offices!

There are labeled compost bins (like this one in our harbor market kitchen) throughout the Aquarium!

We've been working with the CCW facility for just a few months (they opened in November). Located in Curtis Bay, CCW has 55,000 square feet of space to process local waste. They are currently accepting 60-80 tons of waste a week and converting it all into nutrient-rich soil for local farmers and the community!

In the short time we've been composting, the Aquarium has saved close to 40 tons of organic waste from landfills!

Interested in composting your waste? Here's how to do it!

 
  1. Start collecting waste materials!
  2. Work with a local organization, like CCW, to have your waste collected. Baltimore and Washington, DC (and most developed areas) have "compost cabs" that will even come to you for collection!
  3. Visit a local compost facility! Not only will you learn more about the process, but you can also purchase nutrient-rich soil for gardening or urban farming projects!
 
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