Heine Brothers breaks new ground with compost business - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Heine Brothers breaks new ground with compost business

Oil traders are watching the Gulf of Mexico as Hurricane Gustav could threaten oil supplies next week.  The tropical storm didn't hurt the mood of investors Wednesday.

The Dow closed up 89.64 points to close at 11,502.

The Nasdaq also closed up 20.49 points at 2,382.


It started like most businesses do, with an idea.  But this idea concerned what to do with 70 tons of waste generated by a business.

Heine Brothers coffee creates coffee grounds and in getting rid of those grounds, created another business called Breaking New Grounds.

Two years ago, Gary Heine and Mike Mays decided to stop throwing away the 70 tons of coffee grounds their store create every year. They turned to worms for help.

Heine says, "We started experimenting with worm composting to see if the worms would eat the coffee grounds, and they did, but they really liked it better when you mixed it with fruit and vegetable waste and cardboard broken up.  So we experimented with that for a while, and we thought, hey, we could really do this."

Using volunteers, Heine Brothers built bins behind St. Agnus church on Newburg Road.  The composting begins there.

Heine explains, "We have volunteers who drive fruit and vegetable waste from Whole Foods, Rainbow Blossom, drops off food waste, Brown Forman brings used brewery, distillery grains.  We bring hay, and cardboard and newspaper from our stores, and then our staff brings the coffee grounds."

After about six months of composting, the material is given to worms. "We let the worms eat it,"Heine says.  "They eat it all, it still has some nutrition in it, and then they excrete it and what they excrete is worm compost. We have big bins of that there and we sell that all the Heine Brothers stores....Then the money from that, we're gonna start two or three organic farms in one of Louisville's food deserts so we can grow food, farmers, and jobs."

Some of the compost goes into a garden behind St. Agnus.  The Earth and Spirits center is hoping its garden will one day be an agricultural education center.  Heine explains, "It is a organic garden they're putting together, they have medicinal herbs, and flowers and vegetables, and they've expanded it this year and they want to expand it even more next year."

The goal of Heine Brothers is to compost up to 200 tons of food waste per year.


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