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Composting business 'Let it Rot' closing shop; Palm Beach County Solid Waste Authority says owner broke law

Agency told 'Worm Queen' she broke law by taking food waste to her property
Posted at 5:39 PM, Sep 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-14 17:44:41-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — A Palm Beach County businesswoman is shutting down her popular company called "Let it Rot."

Mel Corichi uses worms to turn trash into organic soil for local gardeners, calling herself "The Worm Queen."

But she's running out of worms and time after a battle with regulators.

"I don't really have a business anymore," Corichi said.

WPTV profiled her composting business four years ago when her work was growing.

She fed recycled trash to worms, whose metabolism creates a dark, organic soil for backyard gardeners.

Mel Corichi shares her disappointment with having to close her composting business.
Mel Corichi shares her disappointment with having to close her composting business.

"Which is actually known as 'black gold' in the agriculture world," Corichi said. "It's some of the best soil you can get your hands on."

But two years ago, her composting business took a regulatory hit.

Corichi said the Palm Beach County Solid Waste Authority told her she broke the law by taking food waste to her property, which was an unpermitted disposal site.

She fought to keep "Let it Rot" open, but after she received a cease and desist letter that threatened stiff fines, the "Worm Queen" said she had to surrender and close shop.

"I am so blessed for the opportunity that I had these last eight years to do what I love and make a difference in people's lives," Corichi added.

"Let it Rot" was founded in 2015 in an effort to reduce landfill capacity and reduce pesticide overuse.
"Let it Rot" was founded in 2015 in an effort to reduce landfill capacity and reduce pesticide overuse.

WPTV wanted to know why the Palm Beach County Solid Waste Authority would crack down on the business.

No one from the agency would talk on camera. But through email, its media relations officer wrote of "complaints by neighbors of objectionable odors and flies," and warned of "potential health risks," among other concerns.

Corichi wonders if her composting business is such a threat, why did the Solid Waste Authority send her an invitation to take part in the upcoming "America Recycles Day?"

"I found it, like, incredibly insulting to send me this vendor invitation when they essentially put my business out of business," Corichi said.

Corichi is now training to be an insurance broker, but her heart remains in composting and with the worms that made her business unique.

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