Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Did you know about composting?

           Ithaca College composts about 3,000 lbs of material a day!      
Weigh the waste event 2009:
Results: 2.7 pounds per person
      Composting is the aerobic decomposition of organic matter. Ithaca Dining Services places food scraps and other compostable items into red bins in each dining hall kitchen as well as labeled bins in Campus Center food court and Lavincita.  

Ithaca Dining Services began composting its foodscraps in January of 1993. Food-scrap composting was instituted as a solid waste management strategy that would reduce the cost of land filling. An added benefit is the production of a small amount of high quality humus, an excellent soil amendment. 
Until March of 2007, Ithaca did its composting on sight; however, as composting caught on, and the college started composting items beyond foodscraps, there was no longer adequate space on campus.  Currently, foodscraps are taken to Cayuga Compost in Trumansburg.
The compostable materials are placed in large piles at Cayuga compost where they control decomposition of the material. By adding sawdust to wet materials and adding already composted soil with microorganisms that help perform decompostiion, the process is generally faster than in nature.  It also produces a rich soil that is used for some landscaping on campus and around Ithaca.

What is compostable?
PLA cups
Food scraps as well as any disposable plates, napkins, basket liners, Green Mountain or Starbucks coffee cups.

Dining Services uses corn based polyactic acid disposable forks, knives and spoons as well as packaging for salads, sandwiches, and desserts, making these items all compostable.

Why Compost?
Its simple, it requires little equipment or training.  The process is natural- decomposition is an essential part of life on earth.  It frees up space in landfills and costs very little. Ithaca pays for the composting to be done offsite, but the cost is very little since it is local and Ithaca mostly pays for transportation.  Compared to the price of the garbage service, it significantly less. 

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