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Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Making Big Plans for Green Infrastructure

By Karen Hobbs Senior Policy Analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council - October 29, 2013

Milorganite’s parent company, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD), is leading the nation in Green solutions for water management.  MMSD's green efforts began back in 1926 with the Milorganite program; recycling a nutrient rich byproduct into fertilizer.  Over the past several decades Milwaukee has transformed its approach to storm water management, and continues to look to the future and green infrastructure is one piece of the multi-tiered approach.    Read article

Milorganite. For Better Results. Naturally.  Milorganite BioPreferred® Certified - 85+ Years of Renewable Materials September 2012

(Milwaukee, WI) – Milorganite is now certified by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a biobased product because it is derived from 85% renewable materials.Renewable Materials

The BioPreferred program qualifies products as biobased if they are “composed wholly or significantly of biological ingredients-renewable plant, animal, marine or forestry materials.” Fertilizers are tested for biobased content by a thirdparty lab and then deemed certified by the USDA.

The BioPreferred program goal is to increase the purchase of biobased products resulting in a reduction of petroleum consumption, increase the use of renewable resources, better manage the carbon cycle, and contribute to reducing adverse environmental and health impacts. Look for the certified biobased label to identify these products to help select products that reduce environmental impact and are proven to be more environmentally friendly.

Milorganite. For Better Results. Naturally.  Milorganite Reaches 9 Billion Pounds - With 85 Years of Recycling June 2012   

(Milwaukee, WI) – Trusted by professionals since 1926, the first pelletized fertilizer in the United States, Milorganite, can now add sales of 9 billion pounds to its success story.  That’s enough Milorganite to:

• Wrap around the earth 3.8 times

• Fertilize 78 million lawns

• Lap the Daytona International Speedway 10,000 times

Created by Pioneers in Water Reclamation

Milorganite’s unique history began with Milwaukee’s goal to clean up its rivers and Lake Michigan.  The city became the first in the country to use microscopic organisms, or bugs, to clean wastewater.  In the early 1920’s agronomist and turf expert, O.J. Noer found that the available nitrogen in these bugs resembled high grade organic nitrogenous fertilizers and gave superior growth results compared to manures and chemical fertilizers of the time.  Thus began the inception of Milorganite as the first pelletized N-P-K (Nitrogen-Phosphorous-Potassium) fertilizer marketed and sold in the United States.  

A Long Standing Commitment to Sustainability

Some communities choose to landfill the organisms used in wastewater treatment.  Instead, Milwaukee figured out how to safely reuse the microbes that make up Milorganite by squeezing the water out of the bugs, drying, and pelletizing.

Leading in sustainability has been fundamental to how Milorganite has operated for 90 years.  Through our products, services, operations and community involvement, we promote the efficient use of resources to benefit all people and our planet. The environment and sustainability are key elements of our business. We’ve been recycling for 90 years, making us one of the nation’s oldest recyclers.

Energy Conservation

“Man-made” synthetic fertilizers depend on the petroleum industry, using fossil fuels as a key input.  Milorganite contains no petroleum products.  In fact, the facility where Milorganite is made will soon get the majority of its power from landfill gas and exploration continues for additional alternative energy sources.  The landfill gas project will significantly reduce the amount of natural gas and electricity needed to make our fertilizer, fitting in with our mission to create value where others see waste.