A Pittsburgh man named Mont Handley started experimenting with moss in his kitchen in 1994. He wanted to find an alternative to buying imported sphagnum peat moss. (98% of sphagnum peat moss consumed in the US is harvested from Canadian wetlands.) Plus, digging up peat moss has negative effects on the environment. Handley says, when “we dig up or burn away peat bogs, millions of tons of carbon each year are released, increasing the risk of irreversible climate change.”
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Handley developed a formula that included using recycled paper from landfills to create PittMoss. He got an EPA grant, got scientific evidence that it works from his agriculture alma mater Purdue University, and got the patents he needed to build his PittMoss business. Today PittMoss is available in commercial greenhouses and nurseries throughout the country.