Close this search box.

FLASHBACK: Earth Day Founder Was So Into Recycling, He Composted His Girlfriend

There’s nothing wrong with caring for the environment, or promoting practices that will help con)serve our planet’s natural resources and incredible beauty.

But you may not want to use Earth Day as your excuse for saving the world.

Ira Einhorn the environmental activist who presided over the very first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, and who claimed Earth Day was his idea (even though the U.S. government says they were the ones who instituted the annual environmental holiday) was such a fan of recycling that he killed and, apparently, composed his own girlfriend.

The composting wasn’t intentional, but it is what eventually led police to discover the body of Helen “Holly” Maddux in September of 1977.

Einhorn was a well-known figure in the progressive movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and became known as a father of the environmentalism movement. On that first Earth Day, according to an article published in NBC News, he presided over a huge rally to “save the planet,” essentially headlining the very first national day dedicated to conservation.

A few short years later, Einhorn broke up with girlfriend Maddux. She was reported missing a few days later, having been last seen headed to Einhorn’s Philadelphia apartment to pick up a handful of items she’d left behind. Police questioned Einhorn who told them she’d simply gone “out” to pick up ingredients for a vegetarian meal.

Eighteen months later, when Maddux still hadn’t reappeared, law enforcement returned to Einhorn’s apartment, where they observed a strange liquid leaking from his closet ceiling. Upon further inspection, they found Maddux’s “composted” body, stuffed in a suitcase and covered with air fresheners.

Maddux jumped bail but was captured in France and extradited to stand trial in Maddux’s death. He’s currently serving a life sentence.

His legacy, however, lives on. In Earth Day.