TULSA, Okl. (KNWA) – (5/6/19) American Waste Control (AWC) is raising over 1,000,000 honeybees at its waste-to-energy landfill in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in an effort to help local plants thrive and to raise awareness of the importance of bees to Tulsa’s eco-system, the release states.
The bee idea blossomed a few years ago, after Kenneth Burkett, the company’s owner and National Waste Hall of Fame inductee, heard about the plight of bees worldwide and wanted to do something to boost their numbers in the wild locally, according to the release.
“You hear all the time about how bee populations are dropping off,” said Burkett. “I just wanted to do my part in helping keep the bee population strong while also helping our local environment.
According to Burkett, the project started when his company was faced with the choice of using herbicides to control brush growth near power lines on AEL’s property.
Knowing that the chemicals could permanently impair the native bee population, Burkett decided to hand clear the bushes and set up beehives to help nurture the local bee population.
Today, the bees produce two different kinds of “landfill honey,” and visitors are often given a taste when they come for a tour, the release states.
There has been such a high demand for the sweet landfill honey that this year AWC has decided to naturally process and package beeswax into lip balms that tell a very meaningful story.
“The name Small Beginnings Bee Farm comes from Mr. Burkett’s small beginnings in the waste industry starting with just one truck in 1979 and growing it into an over 135 truck operation,” said AWC Vice President Paul Ross. “We give it away, to our vendors, our customers and our tour guests love it,” Ross continued.
Over the past 30 years, AWC has grown much like the colony of bees have made the landfill their home.
“The honey bee has got to be the hardest working insects in our ecosystem… to produce one pound of honey, two million flowers must be visited. Something about it reminds me of the waste industry, ” said Ross.