Composting, recycling gain popularity


NORFOLK -- A new form of recycling has been gaining popularity in recent years: composting.

The dirty hobby of compost piles gained popularity during the pandemic, according to Midwest Compost, which saw a 20% increase last year. And at the Solid Waste Division of Norfolk, supervisor Robert Mercer said the compost is in high demand, whereas he used to not be able to pay people to take it. 

"We're speeding up mother nature, not adding chemicals," he said.

They have a giant-size version of the compost pile you can make at home, taking in grass, weeds, and foods. The division's website also has tips on how to make your own. 

Mercer reminds people though that it can't be used as soil on its own -- but you can add it to existing soil for more nutrients.

Food isn't the only type of recycling that's growing. Garth Ferris of Norfolk's Alter Metal Recycling said you can also make a profit off of recycling old metal.

Ferris said he's seen a five to ten percent increase in people selling metals to him. Just a pound can be worth hundreds of dollars. 

He advises that when people recycle cars, they should remember to take the battery out for extra money.

"We do not purchase oil, but we recycle it if it's on trucks and cars," he explained, saying they benefit the environment.