Nebraska Grocery Chain Joining Dairy in Compost Venture

Nebraska Grocery Chain Joining Dairy in Compost Venture

Officials for a Lincoln, Neb.-based grocery chain are hoping to turn tons of produce, bakery goods, meat scraps, floral arrangements and cardboard into a salable compost product after it's mixed with manure from a dairy.

B & R Stores wants to begin selling bags of its Prairie Gold this spring, the Lincoln Journal Star reports.

"It completes the cycle," said Larry Elias, B & R's director of sales and merchandise, referring to transforming organic waste into a usable product for farmers, gardeners and greenhouses. Compost is made from decayed organic material, looks like soil and is used as fertilizer.

The company did a trial run last year with Prairieland Dairy near Firth and one Russ's Market store and learned that 80 percent of what was going to the local landfill was compostable. This year waste from six of B & R's Russ's Market stores will be added to manure from Prairieland. The mix will sit in windrows for eight weeks and then will be piled up to cure for a year.

The cured product will be combined with organic waste from various sources before being bagged into Prairie Gold.

Experts say composting helps extend the life of landfills and reduces the amount of a greenhouse gas, methane, released into the atmosphere.

"Landfill space is limited, and it's the right thing to do," Elias said. "It'll hopefully, over the long term, reduce our landfill costs."

It's too early, however, to tell how much money B & R will save by working with the dairy, he said.

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