A million worms chew through airport trash - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

A million worms chew through airport trash

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It's noisy and busy and dirty, but if you're a worm it looks to be the good life.

"They were transported very specially," said Charlotte Douglas Assistant Aviation Director Mark Wiebke. 

They weren't flown in. They got to Charlotte by truck.  Some where in the neighborhood of 750,000 worms from Washington state. Now, the airport is home to about a million.

"We started out with 750 to 800 thousand, but they multiply," said Wiebke.  

They are most definitely on the better of the food chain. Instead of dangling in front of a fish, it's all the worms can eat.  

Their buffet is the Charlotte Douglas Recycling Facility. A place where workers can be found flinging and sorting all kinds stuff.  Things made of paper, metals and plastics. 

"We sort it and bale and sell it to vendors," said Wiebke.

It keeps a lot of things out of the landfill. Putting it there costs money. The recycling center has reduced the airport's trash heap by 25%. The hope is to get to 50% in the near future. 

It hasn't been an always smooth pursuit of that noble goal. One year in, the recycling center has been plagued with cost over runs and equipment problems. 

"So we are changing some of the processes, some of the equipment," said Wiebke.  

And that is where the worm's turn comes in. They get to gobble on the food waste left in all those packages. Their waste becomes compost used around airport grounds. 

"It comes out of the earth, we put it back into the earth," said Wiebke.

With a little help from a million little workers.  

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