At Unity we recycle everything our regional center will take. However, our composting system has some shortcomings. One of Unity’s goals is to be a leader and an educator when it comes to sustainable practices. We heard that UMF does a very good job composting, so on Thursday November 10 we decided to go check it out.
At Unity our compost is comprised of pre and post-consumer waste. In the past composting has not been entirely successful because of many reasons including lack of staff, infrastructure, and ingredients. Also, if you’re dealing with animal byproducts you’re also going to be dealing with any critters the waste may attract. Since Unity desires to compost on-site, our compost is fed to pigs until we can find a better solution. There are certain “ingredients” in compost that take much longer to decompose than other ingredients. These ingredients are lipids (waxes, oils, and fats), meats, and bones. It is very tough to obtain a waste stream that contains only vegetable scraps. Even if we could obtain a “clean” waste stream, we would be sending a much greater amount of waste to landfills.
UMF also collects pre and post-consumer waste. Educating us on “the works” were Bruce White from the State Planning office, Erin Fletcher from Aramark and who is a marketing and sustainability coordinator for UMF, Valerie Huebner who is a sustainability coordinator at UMF, and members of UMF’s Sustainable Campus Coalition. They use 60 gallon bins to collect the waste which is then brought to Sandy River Recycling to be composted.
UMF produces 9.12 tons of food waste annually. Enough heat is created inside these piles of waste that the decomposition of even the more stubborn materials is expedited. Even though the heat and size of these piles deters most animals, UMF doesn’t need to be concerned about critters since the compost is being made off-site. The waste turns into a finished, beautiful soil amendment. They even analyze the compost’s composition.
If you want to read the Sun Journal article, you can click here