MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Composting has become more than just a growing trend, it’s generating millions of dollars for Minnesota’s economy.

The Minnesota Composting Council recently did the first-ever statewide study of the Minnesota composting industry. They learned it’s worth $148 million and more than 700 jobs.

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Minnesota’s Pollution Control Agency has rows of compost bins in their cafeteria.

“It’s really nice to work at a place where people care about the environment and want to do the right thing,” said Tim Farnan, a source reduction specialist for Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

It’s about more than doing the right thing – the new study shows that there’s big money in Minnesota’s compost industry.

“I think it really drives home that point that you’re not just doing something good for the environment, you’re doing something good for the economy,” Farnan said.

More compost leads to more jobs, especially at The Mulch Store.

“I see our business growing not only because people are becoming more aware of the benefits of organic recycling,” Anne Ludvik said.

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Ludvik is the director of organic recycling development at The Mulch Store. It’s where organic material spends about a year churning, steaming, and decomposing before finally becoming something called “black gold.”

Composting not only keeps material out of landfills, it makes a product that has other tremendous benefits for the environment.

“For erosion control, water quality control, water quality benefits adding organic matter to soils,” Ludvik said.

“Compost helps us reduce the needs for pesticides and herbicides,” Farnan said. “Compost helps plants with drought resistance and water retention.”

Wayne Gjerde, a recycling market development coordinator for the Pollution Control agency, says composting is creating a healthier earth and stronger economy that’s only just getting started.

“The industry is growing rapidly, in the next few years we expect it to really grow,” Gjerde said.

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One thing that slows down the composting practice is sifting out those materials that can’t be composted, for more information on what to compost visit the Pollution Control Agency’s website.