A Second Life

Civano Nursery has Tucson growing green.

Branches, leaves and trimmings from local trees take on a second life in Tucson through a partnership between TEP and Civano Nursery. For the past 10 years, Civano Nursery employees have ground and composted green waste from TEP’s tree-trimming operations into a rich mulch that is used to grow half a million trees, shrubs and perennials each year.

Dirt that makes a difference

TEP gathers green waste clippings from around power lines in the Tucson area, bringing them to a field next to the H. Wilson Sundt Generating Station. The waste is then carefully mixed with water and bacteria and shaped into long rows, where the composting process is spurred along by an aeration machine.

The partnership between TEP and Civano began in 2004 and remains the only program of its kind in the country. Each year, the green waste exchange keeps about 30,000 cubic yards of waste out of local landfills. It also gives back to the community, with about 95 percent of the plants grown at Civano Nursery planted in Pima County. Some of the mulch also is donated to charities, schools and hospitals.

Civano recently invested about $400,000 in new machinery that speeds up the
green-waste grinding process, ensuring that this successful and beneficial program
will continue to expand and thrive for years to come.

Lets Get Trashed