Sunday, August 26, 2012

Green Tip #5: Reduce Landfill Waste through Composting

Anyone who's been in one of the UCSC dining halls in recent years knows that dining services composts the food waste that you leave on your plate. Some dining halls, like the one at Colleges 9 and 10, make you scrape your own plates into the compostable bags that are sent to a commercial composting center. Others scrape your plates for you, but all of that food waste ends up being converted into nutrient rich compost.
But did you know that students in the dorms and apartments on campus can also compost the food scraps left over from meals they eat in their own rooms? Instead of sending the food waste to a commercial composting center, however, the food waste generated in dorms and apartments can be collected and added to a cold composting system that is used in the many gardens on campus. For information about each college's system, where to drop off your food waste, and who to contact for more information, please check out this PDF created by the UCSC Zero Waste Team.

If you have further questions about composting on campus, please contact Silas Snyder.

For those of you who do not live on campus or frequent the campus dining halls, you can compost at home! Santa Cruz County has a food scrapping to compost progam, and you can find out more about it here.

You can, of course, also have your own cold composting bin in your own backyard! To get started, check out the EPA's guide to composting, and be sure to search the internet and local libraries for other guides. YouTube has many video tutorials for how to compost. Composting is great because not only does it reduce landfill waste, but it also creates free nutrient rich compost for your own backyard!

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