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Projects Updates for Reduce Foodwaste

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  1. 2022 TEACHAD Webinar: Case study from the Michigan State University South Campus Anaerobic Digester

    Dana Kirk, Associate Professor at Michigan State University, presented a webinar on May 31, 2022 titled "Universities go green! A case study from the Michigan State University South Campus Anaerobic Digester", which also featured Marcello Pibiri, Senior Research Engineer at Energy Resources Center UIC.

    In case you missed the live webinar or if you would like to view the recorded session again, go to You can register with your name and email to watch the recording. Also attached is the presentation by Dana Kirk from this webinar.

    Marcello and his team at ERC organize the New Technical Education & Analysis for Community Hauling and Anaerobic Digesters (TEACH AD) Program to educate people about Anaerobic Digesters.

  2. The Landscape Recycling Center tests for...

    The Landscape Recycling Center tests for temperature, oxygen, and moisture monthly.  They test for ph, metals, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and infectious bacteria in finished compost product annually.  As food scrap makes its way through the process and we continue to test the final product, we will be able to observe any changes to these parameters.


  3. Article Highlights Conversion of Food Waste Into Energy

    To combat the issue of food waste, U of I Housing collaborated with F&S Utilities & Energy Services, Operations, Maintenance & Alterations, and environmental compliance. The committee researched various food waste options, including composting, pulpers, and grinder systems used for anaerobic digestion -- including Grind2Energy systems.

    These operate similarly to an industrial garbage disposal. However, it uses significantly less water than the digester system, up to 90-95 percent less. Additionally, it does not send the waste directly to the sanitary sewer. The food waste is pumped into a 5000-6000 gallon tank located on the outside of the building it serves. A tanker truck empties the waste and takes it to the local sanitary district. The industrial-strength waste is processed in an anaerobic digester, where it undergoes treatment without oxygen. The methane produced is collected and used to generate electricity at the treatment plant.

    Read more about Grind2Energy use on campus through the F&S Website or the PDF in the attached files!


  4. Grind2Energy

    Grind2Energy-horizontal.jpgGrind2Energy: Turning Campus Food Waste into Fuel

    The 49,000 students educated at the University of Illinois can generate a lot of food waste. Most of it winds up in a landfill. But for students with a dining hall plan, food waste is ultimately turned into energy, helping the campus reduce its carbon footprint.

    With the "Grind2Energy" system, food scraps are ground down and ultimately run through an anaerobic digester at the Urbana-Champaign Sanitary District, producing methane that is used for fuel to power the plant. The system was installed at Florida Avenue Residence Halls last fall, and others are in the works.

    "Hopefully this small piece will be part of a bigger system down the road," said Thurman Etchison, Assistant Director of Housing Dining Services for Equipment and Facilities.

  5. Food Waste Management presentation to Housing

    On November 12, 2018, Sarthak Prasad from Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) presented a Food Waste Management study to compare the current mode of food waste management (EnviroPure) with 7 other food waste management equipment. 

    He recommended the Housing at UofI switched from the EnviroPure systems to InSinkerator's Grind2Energy systems as food waste processing system, before sending the processed food waste (in slurry form) to the Urbana-Champaign Sanitary District (UCSD) in Urbana, IL. UCSD's Wastewater Treatment Plant  (WWTP) has existing anaerobic digesters that can convert food waste into valuable biogas for electricity generation.

    See attached the presentation in PDF form and the detailed cost analysis.

  6. Final project reports for Fall 2017

    The CEE 398 Project Based Learning and the Sustainability Minor's ENVS 492 Capstone students completed their nine fall 2017 reports.

    There were five projects completed for capstone partners:

    1. Energy Dashboards for Accenture
    2. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for Johnson Controls
    3. Food Hub Study for The Land Connection
    4. Sensors and Green Buildings for CERL
    5. Biomass Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) for Chip Energy

    There were four other projects completed by CEE students:

    1. Rain Garden Design
    2. Solar and Green Roofs Analysis
    3. Food Waste to Energy
    4. ADA Sidewalk Repair Cost Analysis
  7. ENVS 301 students' presentations

  8. News about Coffee Ground repurposing

    Associated Project(s): 

    From: Kenfield, Micah Charles
    Sent: Thursday, September 25, 2014 9:00 AM
    Subject: SSC Spotlight in the Daily Illini

    Good morning, team!

    Some of you may have already seen this, but the Daily Illini gave some great coverage to the Coffee Ground Repurposing Project in today’s paper:

    Great job to all involved in the project, and a special thanks to Dr. Wander for her interview in the article.

    All My Best,

    Micah Kenfield

    Program Advisor, Student Sustainability Committee

    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    285 Illini Union, MC-384

  9. Coffee Ground Repurposing

    The Coffee Ground Repurposing Project, spearheaded by University Housing, seeks to create a coffee ground recycling network on the University of Illinois campus. Rather than discarding used coffee grounds and sending them to a landfill, University Housing will offer used coffee grounds from the dining halls to the public for composting and re-use. The project has two main goals. First, the project will further minimize the amount of food items being directed to the landfill from University Dining Halls. Second, and more importantly, the program will be an educational tool to demonstrate to UIUC students how nearly every item they dispose of has an alternative use as opposed to being sent to the landfill.

  10. Game Day Recycling Challenge

    The University is participating in its first Game Day Recycling Challenge at the October 25th homecoming game against the University of Minnesota.  For the event the usual landfill bins will be replaced with 3-bin stations to separate landfill, recycling, and compost.  The materials collected will be weighed, the diversion rate calculated, and then entered into a friendly national competition.  To volunteer for this event, please email Bart Bartels at  

  11. Class study with City of Urbana

    Associated Project(s): 

    From: Lisa Brooks Sent: Monday, March 31, 2014 9:57 PM To: Dempsey, John Garrett Subject: School Composting Project   Jack Dempsey,   My name is Lisa Brooks, and I am a student at UIUC. My class and I are collaborating with the Urbana Environmental Sustainability Division to establish a school composting program throughout Urbana schools. The goal of the program is to lower the amount of food waste in the school while producing rich organic top soil. We are currently in the development phase of the program, and we did some research on the Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment. I was wondering if you would be interested in scheduling a time to discuss the details of the project and any suggestions or ideas you might have for how to make our program as effective as possible. If there is anyone else at the Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment that could also provide insight into this project that would be greatly appreciated as well. Feel free to contact me at any time if you are interested in discussing this project.   Thank you for your help,   Lisa Brooks

  12. Composting at Espresso

    Associated Project(s): 

    From: Johnston, Morgan B
    Sent: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 9:22 AM
    To: Fee, Casey A
    Cc: Mueller-Soppart, Marlon Anthony; Jones, Maria
    Subject: RE: Expresso Green Team

    Hi Casey and Marlon,

    How is this going?  Are you having some success?  I added Maria Jones to this email list, since she is the SSC Food and Waste Working Group chair.  The SSC could not allocate funds to Espresso, but there may be other opportunities for collaboration.  Of course, Marlon could bring that up as well.



    From: Casey Fee []
    Sent: Monday, September 09, 2013 8:15 PM
    To: Johnston, Morgan B
    Subject: Re: Expresso Green Team

    Hi Morgan,

    Thanks for contacting us, we're currently figuring out logistics and we will be communicating with the haulers you suggested. We just had a meeting with an Expresso Royale employee and we are going to get measurements about how much compost they produce a day, which we want before contacting the haulers. After that, we will definitely be contacting you again. 

    Thanks again,

    Marlon and Casey

    On Mon, Sep 2, 2013 at 7:08 PM, Johnston, Morgan B <> wrote:

    Hi Casey and Marlon,

    This is the Espresso at Goodwin and Oregon, right? They have no direct connection to the UI, so it would make sense to give the compost to a local group rather than a campus group. (Also, the SSC recently funded vermicomposting at the Sustainable Student Farm, so they shouldn't need additional compost.)

    I think that a community garden could benefit from the compost. They may even be able to host the "compost pile." Here are a few I know of in the community:

    I grabbed these from a quick web search, and I found more than I expected. Perhaps you could reach out to all of them. If you have trouble hearing back from anyone, let me know and I can make a couple calls. 

    Thanks, and best wishes!


    Sent from my mobile device

    On Sep 2, 2013, at 3:44 PM, "Casey Fee" <> wrote:

    Hi Morgan,

    During the Friday meet and greet we, Marlon and I, discussed the prospects of getting Expresso to compost. We were wondering if you could put us in contact with people who might be interested in picking up and using the compost. 


    Casey and Marlon


    Casey Fee

    University of Illinois | Class of 2015

    Chemical Engineering

    Illini 4000 Portrait's Director


  13. RSO interested in reducing their food waste

    Associated Project(s): 

    From: Johnston, Morgan B
    Sent: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 9:18 AM
    To: Bressler, Jonathan Louis; Pickert, Diane A
    Cc: Jones, Maria
    Subject: RE: Food Reduction Recommendations

    Hi Diane and Jonathan,

    Were you able to meet and find a solution for the food waste from Tikkun Chambana?  The Student Sustainability Committee has a new working group chair for Food and Waste.  Her name is Maria Jones, and she is copied here.



    From: Aubrey, Dawn
    Sent: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 1:35 PM
    To: Johnston, Morgan B; Bressler, Jonathan Louis
    Cc: Webb, Olivia Ashley; Pickert, Diane A
    Subject: RE: Food Reduction Recommendations

    Good Afternoon, Jonathan:

    Please contact Diane Pickert at 244-5800 to schedule a time to discuss food  waste reductions. I will not be available until later next week.

    Thank you,


    Dawn Aubrey, Ph.D., MBA, FMP, CEC, CCA
    Associate Director of Housing for Dining Services                                               
    University of Illinois
    407 Clark Hall
    1203 South Fourth Street
    Champaign, Illinois 61820
    Office Direct: 217-244-2997

    From: Johnston, Morgan B
    Sent: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 12:08 PM
    To: Bressler, Jonathan Louis
    Cc: Webb, Olivia Ashley; Aubrey, Dawn
    Subject: Re: Food Reduction Recommendations

    Hello Jonathan,

    Thanks for reaching out. This looks like an important initiative. 

    There is a team working on vermicomposting at the Sustainable Student Farm this fall, with funding from the Student Sustainability Committee (SSC). I've copied the SSC contact from last year for that project, Olivia Webb, here. 

    I believe she can help you in your efforts. I'd love to be kept informed about what you are doing, so please include me in any meetings you have. We can also reach out to Housing to talk with you about possible strategies. I have copied Dawn Aubrey so she can tell us who to meet with from her team. 



    Sent from my mobile device

    On Aug 27, 2013, at 11:47 AM, "Jonathan Bressler" <> wrote:

    Dear Morgan Johnston, 

    Hello, my name is Jonathan Bressler, and I am the president of Tikkun Chambana, a Jewish environmental RSO.  

    We are trying to reduce food waste, as we have many larger scale food events, and was wondering if you could give us some recommedations on what we could do or if we could somehow piggyback onto what Facilities and Management are doing.  I have looked into a few things of the university and found out about the EnviroPure Food Waste Disposal Systems, but these seem very expensive and well beyond our funding capacity,

    Thank you,

    Jonathan Bressler

    Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences 2014

    College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences

    University of Illinois

  14. Composting Program- Grant Application

    Associated Project(s): 

     A food-waste audit was done at University Housing facilities, which involved collecting and weighing waste from student’s plates that was put into the trash, as opposed to the disposal. Once the bag reached a full level, it was weighted and recorded. The weights measured food scraps and napkins, but not liquids. The average waste was about 4.6 ounces per person.

    Attached Files: