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Compost at National Soybean Research Center (NSRC) (In Progress)

Project History

Description

The Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) is responsible for leading campus sustainability efforts. To set an example for students, faculty, and staff, iSEE is proposing a markable — and visible — program that will reduce waste and beautify campus.  
 
Food and compostable waste make up an estimated 30% of all waste generated on-site. The iSEE staff plans to implement an on-site compost tumbler program to collect food waste, coffee grounds, and shredded paper from offices in the National Soybean Research Center (NSRC) building, where the Institute is housed. The next step of this project is to construct a pollinator garden on the west side of the building, which the office compost would help maintain. In addition to reducing food waste, this project provides an educational opportunity intended to engage students, staff, and faculty. 
 
This project will significantly reduce this category from our waste stream. Using a compost tumbler will reduce the amount of coffee grounds, shredded paper, and food scraps that get thrown away, while providing an engagement and educational opportunity on waste and carbon reduction. Effective signage with clear visuals of what can and cannot be disposed of will eliminate confusion. Periodic inventories will be conducted and the data will be sent out to the participating offices to continuously engage the students, staff, and faculty. The nutrient-rich compost will enrich the proposed garden, an aesthetically-pleasing opportunity to recycle our organic resources. This program provides environmental stewardship education and hands-on learning opportunities, which will be an advertised example of office sustainability best practices. It is the intention that these efforts will encourage other offices and individuals to partake in similar programs to manage dayto-day waste and make alternative purchasing decisions (e.g., switching from purchasing K-Cups to using coffee pots). Since various events and meetings are held in the NSRC building, the signage and collection sites will set a positive example for all who visit the building. iSEE interns and environmental/food waste RSOs will help maintain the tumbler and garden, keep track of the metrics, and document the steps of this program to eventually provide a framework to other offices interested in implementing a similar project. This composting program coupled with extensive educational efforts will encourage people in and around NSRC to become more conscious about purchasing, consuming, and discarding food. Reducing food waste encourages longterm sustainable behavior, which students, faculty, and staff can take back to their homes and share with their peers.

Project Team

  • Primary Contact:

    Meredith Moore, iSEE

    Team Members:

    • Theresa Snarski
    • Brent Lewis
    • Eliana Brown

Dates

  • Proposed September 16, 2019
    Proposed by Meredith Moore
    Approved November 20, 2019
    Approved by Brent Lewis
    Started January 20, 2020
    Started by Theresa Snarski

Project Location(s)

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