What Goes Around…Comes Around – Colorado Correctional Industries “Wastes” Nothing


What Goes Around … Comes Around – Colorado Correctional Industries “Wastes” Nothing
By Cheryl Ahumada, Marketing Coordinator, Colorado Correctional Industries

Thriving crops, such as CCi’s field corn, receive nutrients from the recycled compost which ultimately end up feeding the cows and the recycling starts over again

When one thinks of mixing together scrap wood, fish waste, and animal manure, one doesn’t necessarily think “green.” But that is exactly what these products turn into for Colorado Correctional Industries (CCi) … environmentally sound, cold hard cash! CCi is continuously thinking of ways to use waste from all of our product lines for use in other Thriving crops, such as CCi’s field corn, receive nutrients from the recycled compost which ultimately end up feeding the cows and the recycling starts over againareas which not only saves our environment, but saves cash off our bottom line as well.

Just 18 short months ago, CCi’s 49,000 sq. ft. furniture manufacturing program purchased a $32,000 wood grinder to eliminate the need for daily (sometimes twice daily) refuse pick up.  The cost of the refuse pickup was over $21,000/year. Today, CCi has not only recouped the cost of that machine, but is experiencing a positive cash flow in this area.We expect our trash bill to not exceed $500 for the entire year!

Ground up wood chips (shown here) are combined with animal waste and are being used as compost in field crops


And this is just the beginning. Portions of this ground-up wood assist our agricultural program by way of providing compost for our corn fields that are used for silage, as well as specialized bedding for our new born cows at our dairy (the latter must undergo separation, as ground up laminate proved to be bothersome to the hooves of our cows).


CCi’s wood grinder saves over $20,000 annually in refuse costs


Wood chips are not the only items reused in our compost piles. When mixed with straw, the horse, goat and cow manure from our livestock programs ferment, and then undergo a filtering process which yields more than enough compost to cover 500 acres of ground crops each year. These crops are primarily used for corn silage (resulting in 12,000 tons each year) in our dairy operation. Because of our enormous excess volume of compost, CCi sells the remaining ripe commodity to private industry wholesalers in neighboring cities. This represents an average increase of $80,000 to our bottom line each year!

Specially filtered wood chips are used in conjunction with hay for animal bedding, and then later pitched in the compost pile for use in field crops


Recycling of products and waste is always a good idea, so long as it is environmentally friendly and attended to in the proper manner for consumption crops and livestock. With these practices in place, one could continually use, and reuse, these products in some fashion again and again, coining the phrase, “What goes around, comes around!”


Colorado Goes Solar
Inmate workers from Colorado Correctional Industries (CCi) helped to install solar photovoltaic arrays at nine state prisons located throughout the state of Colorado. The arrays went operational on April 22, 2011 and are expected to save state taxpayers $475,000 in electricity costs over the next 20 years.