September 20th, 2005 Food waste and composting at the University Food Waste Amount of Organic Waste Total Organic waste = 25.6%!!! Composting • Two common types of composting: with worms or without • Outdoor composting in Michigan is what the city does and it is easier for large scale operations • Composting with worms can be done year round in Michigan and is best for small scale operations Why compost? • Recycling the organic waste of a household into compost allows us to return much need organic matter to the soil • Composting reprocesses food scraps into something valuable and nutrient rich • Composting diverts a large percentage of waste away from the landfills What is the University doing? • Currently, U of M takes food scraps from several dorms around campus and takes a portion to the botanical garden and the rest goes into the city’s composting program The City Composting center *Started in 1989 *12,000 tons/yr *saves the city $ and resources http://www.ci.ann-arbor.mi.us/PublicServices/ FieldOperations/SolidWaste/education/rrc/ compostctr.html http://cultivatingcommunity.com for more details • Started last year by a group of interested University members • Goal: create a closed-loop system to vermicompost food waste from dorms and create soil for on-campus gardens • Experimenting with large-scale worm composting • So far, a garden is at the botanical gardens and the operation is expanding as we speak! Worms!! • An excellent way to compost indoors and out worms break down your excess waste • Worm bins may also be referred to as vermicomposting units • Worm poop (a.k.a “castings”) are an excellent source of nutrients for gardens, etc. In-office composting • Carol (fellow REdU member) will share her experiences with composting in the office • Please take a look at the worm bins she has set up in the office. • “Worms Eat My Garbage” is an excellent resource for how-to on worm bins (see copy). Questions for Carol: • How did you become involved in composting? • On average how much time per week do you spend maintaining the bins? • Do you ever see them as burdensome? • Are people often intrigued with the worms? • How much soil do you harvest from your bins per year? • How much research did you do prior to starting a bin? • Do office mates ever ask you for soil? • How much food scraps would you estimate you divert in a given (month? year? week?)? • Do the worms ever smell? • What is your favorite/least favorite part about vermicomposting? • Any other questions?
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