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Projects Updates for Large-Scale Food Waste Composting

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  1. ZW007 Composting Strategies - Successful

    iSEE Director, Madhu Khanna, responded in favor of the ZW007 Composting Strategies recommendation with the following message:

    ================

    Dear Morgan and Jen

    iSEE is very supportive of discussing composting program expansion opportunities and we appreciate the submittal of this recommendation. We have established and supported the implementation of several compost tumblers on campus and participate in a Sustainable Land Management Committee to work on identifying potential compost opportunities at South Farms. This committee is currently working on establishing an outlet for composting manure with the intent of expanding to include campuswide organic waste, excluding the waste from Dining Halls as they already divert their organic waste through Grind2Energy Systems.

    We have now had time to discuss the recommendation below in more detail. In the near term, we have initiated conversations to pilot a program between the Union and Urbana Landscape Recycling Center to assess demand and logistical details needed to support such a program. Many of the individuals included on the proposed committee membership list are included in these discussions, and progress will be continuously reported on the iCAP Portal. As you recommended, we are gathering these stakeholders to discuss composting.  Because it is a large and complex issue, we are taking a less structured approach than a formal committee. We will reassess the launch of such a group as we move forward with the Union pilot project. Thank you again for your dedication to campus waste diversion.

    Best wishes,
    Madhu

    ================

    See the iWG assessment and transmittal of ZW007 Composting Strategies here. 
    See the submittal of ZW007 Composting Strategies here.
     

  2. ZW007 Composting Strategies - Transmitted

    Following review by the iCAP Working Group, the iWG recommends that the ZW007 Composting Strategies recommendation be transmitted to iSEE:

    "Because these discussions are at the beginning stages in various formats and topics, the iWG recommends that iSEE collaborate with the Zero Waste iCAP Team to plan and host a discussion/symposium/workshop in FY23 to share knowledge about composting programs, efforts, and strategies for campus and the community. A review of known solutions from other places and an assessment of anticipated costs for composting strategies should be included, and include presentations from experts on best practices."

    See the submittal of ZW007 Composting Strategies here.

    Attached Files: 
  3. Zero Waste iCAP Team Meeting

    The Zero Waste iCAP Team met on Thursday, March 31 to de-brief the Plastics Reduction Strategy discussion, review committee member research on the Adopt-a-Highway/Adopt-a-Drain and Composting Committee Recommendations, and begin discussion on amending the Campus Administrative Manual's Paper Policy. Meeting minutes are attached.

  4. Zero Waste iCAP Team Meeting

    The Zero Waste iCAP Team met on Thursday, March 31 to de-brief the Plastics Reduction Strategy discussion, review committee member research on the Adopt-a-Highway/Adopt-a-Drain and Composting Committee Recommendations, and begin discussion on amending the Campus Administrative Manual's Paper Policy. Meeting minutes are attached.

  5. Zero Waste Team Meeting

    The Zero Waste iCAP Team met on Wednesday, February 9 to discuss the several recommendations in the works, including: Plastic Reduction in vending machines, Composting Commitee, Adopt a Highway/Drain, Food Literacy Project, and Sustainable Receipt options. Meeting minutes are attached.

    Attached Files: 
  6. Zero Waste iCAP Team Meeting

    The Zero Waste iCAP Team met on Thursday, January 27 to finalize the recommendations drafted at the end of last semester, the Water Drinking Behavior Survey and the Water Filter System Tracking. The team also discussed several recommendations they intend to pursue this semester, including: Adopt-a-Highway program, Food Literacy Project, Composting Committee, P Card Training and Sustainable Receipt options. Meeting minutes are attached.

    Attached Files: 
  7. 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.

     

  8. 3/12 Zero Waste SWATeam Meeting

    Meeting minutes for the Zero Waste SWATeam Meeting on 3/12 are attached. The agenda for the meeting is as follows:

    • M. Liberman: NERC Recommendation
      • Is it ready?
      • Do you need support?
    • T. Etchison: Reusable Dining Options Pilot
      • Update?
      • Do you need support?
    • C. Steel: Adopt-A-Highway
      • Update?
      • Do you need support?
      • Are there any alternatives?
      • Can we make a recommendation that iSEE host their own event, which we help facilitate?
    • C. Steel: Composting Program/Urban Canopy
      • Update?
      • Do you need support?
      • Are there alternatives?
      • Can we go a different direction with this local, closed-loop composting program idea?
    • Roundtable Discussion
      • Removal of virgin paper from F&S stores/catalogues
      • Elimination of thermal paper receipts
      • Assessment of third party vendors footprint (single-use plastics, recyclable materials, etc) in the Union.
      • Student Waste Management Educational initiative.
      • Single-use plastics in vending machines.
      • Reuse of Surplus Goods
      • Battery Recycling
  9. 12/18 Zero Waste SWATeam Meeting

    Attached are the meeting minutes from the Zero Waste SWATeam on 12/18/2020. The following agenda items were discussed:

    • Grind2Energy Additional Scope.
    • NERC membership.
    • Mask Terracycle Program.
    • Organics Master Plan.
    • Vending Machine Single-Use Plastics Replacement.
    • Mitigating single-serve options in third-party vendors in Union.
    • Reusable dining operations during COVID.
    • Reuse of Surplus Goods.
    • Battery Recycling Options.
    • Purchasing Order Fufillment: Sustainable Options.
    • Purchasing Sustainability Digital Booklet.
    • Food Waste Reduction Webinar Engagement Opportunity.
    • Sustainability Integrations within punch-out catalogues/iBUY.
  10. 12/4 Zero Waste SWATeam Meeting

    Attached are the meeting minutes and chat log of the Zero Waste SWATeam on 12/4/2020. 

    The following were discussed:

    • SSC Letter of Support for Illini Union Shadowbox Recycling project
    • Vermicomposting
    • Composting
    • NASEM Circular Economy Conference
    • Food Literacy Project
  11. 11/13 Zero Waste SWATeam Meeting

    Attached are the meeting minutes and chat from the Zero Waste SWATeam meeting on 11/13.

    Discussed were the following topics:

    • Update: Adopt-a-highway/Clean-up Program
    • Composting Partnership
    • Student Project: Vermicompost
    • Novel Scope Addition: Grind2Energy
    • Update: Food Literacy Project
    • Update: Clean Plate Program
    • Update: Sustainability within Purchasing (Website & Protocols)
  12. 11/13 Zero Waste SWATeam Meeting

    Attached are the meeting minutes and chat from the Zero Waste SWATeam meeting on 11/13.

    Discussed were the following topics:

    • Update: Adopt-a-highway/Clean-up Program
    • Composting Partnership: Alex Poltorak of Urban Canopy
    • Student Project: Vermiculture Composting
    • Grind2Energy Additional Scope
    • Food Literacy Project
    • Update: Clean Plate Program
    • Purchasing Sustainability Update
  13. 10/16 Zero Waste SWATeam Meeting

    Attached are the meeting minutes and chat from the Zero Waste SWATeam meeting on 10/16.

    Discussed were the following topics:

    Reducing Food Waste

    • Post-consumer food waste prevention
    • Post-consumer food waste recovery

    Vending Machine Alternatives to Single-use plastics

    Plastic Recovery

    Single Use Plastics

    Illini Union Shadowbox attachment

    Food Literacy Project

     

  14. PWR SWATeam Minutes 3/29

    Meeting Minutes 3/29

    During this meeting, the PWR SWAT Team coordinated with Marya Ryan, the new Zero Waste Coordinator. We discussed previous campus efforts for multiple different projects like composting and recycling as well as introduced ourselves to one another. 

    The SWAT Team also was updated on progress with reviewing the Paper Policy Draft comments and will finish this review by next meeting. 

    Furthermore, a discussion of composting efforts on campus was discussed and an effort to create a comprehensive map of waste pickup routes will be created. 

    Next meeting is TBD.

    Attached Files: 
  15. Archived iCAP page information

    Associated Project(s): 

    The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is pursuing development of a large-scale food waste composting facility on the University’s property, in order to compost food waste from University dining halls.  This interest is precipitated by the commitment made by the University in the 2010 Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP): “The University will commit to… a large‐scale food composting project by 2012.” The new facility will initially receive and process all acceptable pre- and post-consumer food waste from six dining halls on campus, as well as supplementary landscape waste as necessary carbon bulking material from Campus Grounds. In the future, if needed, the system may accept additional landscape waste from the city of Champaign as well as livestock bedding and other animal-related organic waste from the University’s Agricultural and Animal Sciences Departments. The finished product will provide rich compost material to agricultural projects on campus such as the Sustainable Student Farm, as well as to campus grounds and athletic fields.

    Background

    The University of Illinois is dedicated to composting across the board.  There are three main academic campuses at Urbana, Springfield, and Chicago and two medical campuses at Peoria and Rockford.  We are in communication with all of these sites about the future of composting at the University.  This is an exciting opportunity for the sustainability contacts to work together and support each other in a major sustainability initiative.  Additionally, the University Extension office has a long history of supporting sustainability and has numerous resources for composting operations that we can call upon as the project progresses. 

    In 2008, the Chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, pledging to become carbon neutral by the year 2050.  As part of this commitment, the University published “Illinois: A Climate Action Plan (iCAP)” in May 2010, describing several projects related to various aspects of campus sustainability.  This document is available online at http://sustainability.illinois.edu/iCAP.html.  

    The Procurement and Waste aspects of campus sustainability are highlighted on page five of the iCAP.  It states “The University will commit to a Zero Waste campus policy by 2012, a large-scale food composting project by 2012, and target an increase in the University’s waste diversion rate to 75 percent by 2020.”  The specific project is listed on page 34 item 4 under Agricultural targets, as “Incorporate a large-scale food composting project by 2012.” 

    The composting project also has significant support from campus leadership represented by Associate Chancellor Pradeep Khanna, Facilities & Services as represented by Tracy Osby the Waste Management Coordinator and Jack Dempsey the Executive Director, and the students as represented by the Student Sustainability Committee.  The Office of Sustainability works closely with Facilities and Services to assist with the various projects in the Climate Action Plan, and will assist with project implementation and promotional information.

    Currently, approximately 1411 tons of food-waste is collected annually from the five major Dining Halls on campus.  Unfortunately, all of this waste is sent to the Clinton Landfill.  There was a small pilot composting project which diverted about five percent of this waste during the short pilot test phase, but it has not been in operation for the last year.  The proposed Large-Scale Food Waste Composting Facility will divert 100 percent of this food-waste and utilize Grounds department landscape waste to generate approximately 2,822 tons of high-quality compost annually.  The compost material will be used solely on University land, including the campus grounds, athletic fields, and the Sustainable Student Farm project.  Future expansion of composting operations could incorporate the animal waste at the Beef and Sheep Facility, which is directly south of the Compost Facility.   At that time, the finished product may be used on certain crop sciences lands.

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