Sustainability & Composting Solutions for Higher Education

How Universities Can Start Composting

How Universities Can Start Composting

Composting is one of the original methods of sustainable living, even before sustainability became as popular and essential as it has in the last decade. Yet it is still one that most people do not take advantage of. Of course, there are those individuals who keep a small compost in their backyard, probably next to their shed. For any university with the outdoor space required, sustainability in higher education is a good investment.

There are two composting solutions for higher education. The first is collecting compost on campus, in specific recycling bins, and then have it picked up by an offsite composting program. While this is the more comfortable option logistically speaking, due to not having to plot space to create a compost pile, it is less helpful financially. There are fees associated with having composting materials picked up and taken offsite.

The second composting solution for higher education is to create a composting pile on the university campus. Create a compost pile in a designated area with a large wooden box-like structure with no lid. The location for this pile is different depending on the environment you live in. In colder climates, the pile should be in the sun but blocked from the wind. In warmer, dry, climates the pile should be somewhere with shade. It must be on a level surface and not on concrete. The next step is to put recycling bins around campus with a designated organics stream. It is wise to put them in every building, but especially in buildings with cafeterias or cafes where food waste is most likely to be found.

Composting piles are more time consuming and require more resources, mainly space for the pile, but it is the more economical option. Half the idea of doing composting is to save money on waste removal costs. While it is easier to get organic waste taken off-campus separately, it will come with a price.

Composting is a tried and true, yet far too untapped, method of sustainability that gives more back than to just the environment.  Universities, uniquely, are poised to change the pattern and start taking advantage of all composting has to offer.

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