What is compost?
Compost is a soil amendment that is produced when microbes decompose organic materials such as food scraps and yard trimmings. Basically, you collect compostable food scraps (banana peels, apple cores, pepper guts, eggshells, etc) at your campus location in a small plastic container provided by the Sustainability Office. Empty your container into one of the campus collection bins on either campus (see campus maps). Grounds Dept takes that bin and tosses it into our compost pile. Sustainability staff move compost materials (browns and greens) into composting tumblers and aerators to accelerate the decompostion process. The decomposition of organic material creates a nutrient rich soil we can use in our campus greenhouses. Composting food scraps to produce soil that goes into food production is an example of a Full Circle food economy that results in zero waste. In nature, there is no "trash" and everything can be recycled into new growth!
Nature has recycled organic matter in this way since the beginning of time. We can't keep putting our waste in landfills forever - space and resources are limited. Also, rotting food waste in an anaroebic environment such as a landfill releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. The environmentally, ethically, and economically sustainable choice is to change the way we think about our waste. How can we turn unwanted food waste into a valuable resource?
How can you compost at CSB and SJU?
- You can compost at CSB and SJU by collecting tea bags, egg shells, food scraps, coffee filters and grounds, food peels, vegetables, fruits, houseplants, and flowers in the container provided by the Sustainability Office. You cannot compost meat, bones, dairy products, paper, pet feces, fats and oils, chemicals, plastic, or trash. Please stop in our office to receive a container, or use your own container. We use big plastic yogurt containers recycled from Food Services - it doesn't have to be high-tech or fancy!
- Once your container is full you can empty it into the compost bin at the drop off sites listed on the campus compost map (near select dumpsters). Reach out to Sustainability if you're having trouble locating bins or participating in the compost program.
- The compost from the composting bins is then collected and brought to the compost piles located near the Full Circle Greenhouses found on both campuses. Food waste from campus is mixed with yard waste from Grounds to decompose and create a nutrient rich compost for use in the winter greenhouses.