It was the winter of 2012 when I visited the Noble Correctional Institution in Ohio to observe their sustainability programs.  Tops on my list of things to see was the Big Hanna in-vessel composter.  Warden Tim Buchannan was justifiably proud of all his programs at the institution, but the Big Hanna was a different way of doing business.

The two stainless steel machines located adjacent to the food service area were consuming the food waste of 2,500 inmates.  A stunning 1.25 TONS of food waste daily (1lb. per inmate per day).  Over the course of 14 weeks, the raw waste that went in one end of the machine came out the other as ready to use compost suitable for spreading in gardens, lawns and anywhere else the facility needed to supplement the soil. 

Also eliminated with the advent of Big Hanna were the smelly and unsightly dumpsters and the expense of hauling and dumping them.  From a security perspective it meant a significant reduction in vehicular traffic through the rear gate, and more jobs for the inmates who cared for and loaded the machines. 

The initial installment of the Big Hanna in Noble has proven so successful that the state has purchased six more.  Click Here to see the news release announcing the roll out of the new machines. Or you can read their Blog Post.

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