The dirt on composting at SBU
(Kitchen Food Composting at Roth Quad)
February 22, 2012
Stony Brook University's composting project is a joint venture between Campus Dining Services, LACKMANN and the Faculty Student Association (FSA). Pete Nathanson, Tony Gentile and Phil Herbst have volunteered to administer the composting project in addition to their regular job duties here on campus.
Composting is a process that turns organic waste into nutrient rich soil. From October 2009 through the first week of February 2010, the University processed over 2,750 gallons of its kitchen waste into compost. This included fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds and other pre-consumer food scraps.
Dining service employees must first separate the biodegradable waste from other kitchen waste. Scraps from the kitchens of the Stony Brook Union, Roth Dining Center, Kelly Dining and Campus Connection at H-Quad are transported three times a week to the composter located at the Roth Dining Center loading dock. There, the FSA volunteers mix the food waste with the bulking agent (sawdust and woodchips) and send it into the aerobic Compost Vessel. After two to three weeks, the compost is ready to be taken to the organic garden at South P Lot and to the Facilities & Services Greenhouse in Research & Development Park.
Campus Dining Services and the FSA have committed to this project to reduce the amount of material sent to landfills, the use of fossil fuels, and the University's carbon footprint. Aerobic composting, unlike anaerobic landfill degradation, does not result in the release of methane, a gas that is reported to be 25 times more powerful as a global warming agent than carbon dioxide.
The FSA hopes to gain more volunteers so that all campus dining locations can become part of the composting project. For more information on this Sustainability Story and/or to find more information about volunteering, please contact the Stony Brook University Office of Sustainability.
by Susan Fusaro