Originally created 11/20/02

Workers get gift composters



Most companies are giving employees turkeys and hams this time of year.

But at DSM Chemicals North America, workers will take home compost boxes for the holidays.

The idea to distribute the 4-foot-by-2-foot plastic boxes came from Emma Rout, a network administrator in the chemical plant's information technology department. She submitted the idea to the plant's Dutch parent company, DSM NV, as part of the company's Dream Action Campaign environmental competition, which coincided with its 100th anniversary celebration this year.

"Our dream in Augusta was composting," Ms. Rout told a group of fellow employees Tuesday before handing out the first of 190 boxes.

Ms. Rout, who describes herself as a faithful recycler, said her goal is to encourage fellow employees to reduce the amount of organic waste they send to landfills. Her plan was one of 22 selected from more than 720 submissions sent in by the company's global work force of 22,000.

As a finalist, she and her husband were invited to corporate headquarters to meet Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

Other Dream Action projects included proposals from employees in Austria, who have developed a new malaria drug, and DSM's home country of the Netherlands, where employees created a water-purifying drinking straw for Third World countries.

Ms. Rout also wants to distribute compost boxes to two Richmond County schools where the company sponsors events through its school adoption program.

"We need to start teaching the importance of recycling to kids," she said.

More than 65 percent of DSM Chemicals employees signed up to receive compost boxes, which Ms. Rout says are being jokingly referred to as "Empost" boxes.

Reach Damon Cline at (706) 823-3486 or dcline@augustachronicle.com.