From the beginning stakeholders at the university wanted to ensure that leftover food scraps would be used to create high-grade compost and not be fed to animals. Sending food scraps to be made to compost is called Earth-to-Earth composting. Through our partnership with Casella Waste Solutions and Casella Organics, a local composting facility was identified to accept our food waste.
A portion of all the compost we generate is brought back to campus for use each year in the Urban Agriculture site to grow new food completing the farm to campus sustainability loop
Furthermore, community members can purchase this compost for their use at home
This food composting program is recognized as a sustainable model for higher education.
HOW IT WORKS
Composting is performed by the dining staff in all of the following areas:
- residential dining halls
- the Tsongas Center
- the Inn and Conference Center
- all coffee shops.
Front of House composting is even offered for customers and community members at Crossroads Cafe in University Crossing and in the food court in Southwick Hall.
A Brief History of the Program
In June of 2013, two environmental health students approached the University’s Sustainability Committee about starting a composting program on campus. The committee agreed and immediately began working to make this happen. In July of 2013, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection announced new legislation which banned the disposal of organic food waste from commercial kitchens, like those at the university, with an effective date for July 2014. Our program was in place before the commercial ban was implemented and has continued to grow since it was implemented.
The university continues to monitor the programs success to this day the amount and quality of food waste collected continues to improve through a process of continual observation and employee training. In addition, front-of-house composting opportunities are now available in University Crossing, our campus’ hub and in a major a la carte dining hall on our North Campus. As the university’s enrollment grows, we look forward to growing and evolving the compost program.