Creating a resource for anyone in the in the OWU community interested in campus composting to understand the processes and challenges involved with composting.
Documenting OWU’s own progress as well as looking at what other colleges are doing.
Benefits to College:
- Gives school good (green) image
- Decreased costs in waste removal
- Decreased costs in buying soil/mulch
- Educates students and public on sustainability
- Besides these no-brainer benefits, the “unquantifiable ecological benefits” must be considered.
The last benefit is what most college programs seem to be under. They typically do not result in cost reduction or are started thanks to grants or donations.
What schools are doing
- Population: 2800
- 400lbs/week from kitchen waste, 40lbs/week from residents buildings.
- Method: pulper ($114,000, $58,000 donated), a tumbler for the residents. The pulper reduces water and energy usage by reusing the waste water and not having to flush food down the drain.
- Challenges: Looking for someone to take the pulp. The residents have set up a system of collection for waste that involves up to 30 students twice a week to collect waste which is not cost efficient.
- Population: 3100
- 250lbs/week, kitchen scraps only
- Method: EarthTub industrial composter ($20,000 raised by clubs)
- Challenges: Current model does not collect students food scraps. Run by kitchen staff who wish to raise awareness and is not cost efficient. They suggest that composting students food scraps may make it efficient.
- Population: 1650
- 6,000lbs/week (50% of all cafeteria waste)
- Method: System shreds, dehydrates, and mixes waste, creating compost in 14 days, instead of more traditional methods which take 3 months.
- Challenges: High cost of equipment. Kenyon’s was covered by an alumni donation.
- Population: 17,000 on main campus
- 263 tons in 18 months
- Method: Industrial Composter ($800,000, $350,000 covered by grants).
- Collect a much larger percentage of overall waste by collecting kitchen waste and having students separate their own scraps.
- Challenges: creating user-friendly waste sorting areas that are well labeled so all waste is collected properly.
- Increase public awareness of waste and energy reduction
- Educate the food service industry regarding environmental practices
- Create a positive impact in the Central Ohio community.
What they do:
- Act as a middle man by recycling goods for customers and delivers Eco-friendly products.
- Develop logistics to collect and dispose of waste created by businesses and schools.
- Consulting services include education, training, and support aimed at streamlining food service operations. while keeping an environmental focus.
OWU composting efforts
Smith Dining Hall
- Eartha has trained kitchen staff on how to collect and store pre- and post-consumer waste that is compostable.
- Once 65 gallon bins are purchased they will be used to store the waste which Eartha will pick up for a fee and transport it to Ohio Mulch, just up 42.
- Ohio Mulch accepts the waste for free since they create mulch from it and sell it for a profit.
- There would be no significant price savings in transportation and we do not get free mulch in return like if we were creating it ourselves.
- The problems with this plan include knowing a rough estimate of the waste produced to know the number of bins and pick-ups required for cost efficiency. This is the selling point for the school to back the composting program.
The next phase of composting at OWU would be developing a plan to collect waste in Hamwil.
- Students must be taught to sort their own food scraps from recycling and garbage.
- The school must be equipped to handle much more food waste (i.e. bins, pick-ups, storage location).
-Schools and businesses looking for a business model from OWU. Drawing the community in could be very healthy for the program by raising awareness and providing a larger overall impact.