Campus Dining to begin composting food from dining halls.

The Maneater (official student newspaper of the University of Missouri).
July 25, 2011.

“This fall, Missouri University will be one step closer to having a
smaller carbon footprint with the implementation of a plan that will
compost discarded dining hall food.

Campus Dining Services and the Bradford Extension Farm are initiating a
plan that will take students’ food waste out of the landfill and put it
back on the table. Through composting, their hope is to decrease student

“The potential in food waste is up to 200 to 250 tons per year of
compostable food that is currently going to a landfill,” CDS Executive
Chef Eric Cartwright said.

The amount of food waste produced now is extremely high, Bradford
Extension Farm Superintendent Tim Reinbott said. “That’s four and half
ounces per person per meal,” said Reinbott, who has been working on the
plan for about two years. The farm plans to combine food waste with
animal waste to make compost. They will use the compost to grow
vegetables to sell to MU.

CDS Marketing Manager Michael Wuest said the program will give students
a chance to eat nutritious, local food.  “This is an ideal situation for
students,” Reinbott said, adding that they can get involved, do studies
and learn about composting and the benefits it offers.

Cartwright said the plan will cost about $100,000. The static aerated
compost facility, where the actual composting will take place, is still
being built. MU received a grant from the Mid-Missouri Solid Waste
Management District and CDS is also footing a portion of the bill. There
is still a shortage of funds, but Cartwright said the program will be
moving forward nonetheless.

MU pays for its excess food waste to be taken to the city landfill as of
now. This is not the first project that has tried to reduce waste at MU.
Rollins dining hall has had a pulper for years, which takes excess food
waste and reduces its volume. A student group would then pick up the
product and deliver it to a local farm for composting.

Cartwright also said that dining halls could buy 100 percent compostable

Reinbott hopes to hire students to run the facility, to make compost and
to market vegetables. “We’re looking for students who want to be
involved in this,” he said.

He also hopes to change how the vehicles that will transport all of the
waste materials run. CDS uses 3,000 gallons per year of vegetable oil,
which can be converted into bio-diesel. That can then run the vehicles
that pick up the waste materials and deliver vegetables back to campus.
This will create a system that uses essentially no outside carbon,
Reinbott said.In effect, we’ll have a zero carbon footprint,” he said.”

Dr. Ann C. Wilkie                          Tel: (352)392-8699
Soil and Water Science Department          Fax: (352)392-7008
University of Florida-IFAS
P.O. Box 110960                         E-mail: [log in to unmask]
Gainesville, FL 32611-0960
Campus location: Environmental Microbiology Laboratory (Bldg. 246).
BioEnergy and Sustainable Technology Society