UofL is committed to seeing organic wastes as a valuable resource rather than as "trash" to be thrown "away."
UofL Dining hosted a Weigh The Waste campaign to raise awareness at The Ville Grill for Sustainability Week 2013. During lunch on Oct. 24th, 230 pounds of food waste was collected for composting!
Sustainability requires us to not only reduce waste, but to re-conceptualize waste as resource and to seek ways to creatively 'close the loop' rather than endlessly filling landfills. UofL is achieving this most directly in the way we handle our organic wastes.
UofL has numerous ways for making sure that food scraps and kitchen wastes are kept out of the landfill and turned into valuable organic fertilizer! Food waste from UofL Dining facilities is taken off-site by QRS Recycling (see below).
- The new Cardinal Burger Company on the second level of the Student Activities Center not only features local food and grass-fed, hormone- & antibiotics-free beef, but everything CBC serves and everything it is served on is compostable! When dining at CBC, please refrain from tossing your garbage in the compost bin (there's a landfill trash can by the door for those who need it).
Compost Your Own!
There are several places at UofL where you can participate directly in making rich, organic fertilizer for use right here on campus!
- You can now compost your own food scraps on campus at the Garden Commons, which set up four rolling compost bins next to the greenhouse behind the Cultural Center in 2011!
- Compost bins are also available at the new Horticulture Zone garden behind the Urban Studies Institute at 426 W. Bloom St. (behind Bettie Johnson Hall).
- No meat, bones, or dairy products are accepted in any of these on-site composting bins. This helps reduce problems with odors and vermin.
- Please contribute any plant-based wastes such as coffee grounds, tea bags, fruit peels, vegetable scraps, bread waste, leaves, paper towels, paper plates, paper napkins, shredded newspapers & cardboard, etc.
- We seek volunteers willing to set up a compost bucket (with sealed lid to reduce odors and pest problems) in their campus kitchen or break-room who can regularly bring the bucket over to the Garden Commons to be emptied and rinsed. Contact: Brian Barnes, EcoReps Coordinator: brian.barnes (at) louisville.edu, 502-338-1338.
- Large-scale Off-Site Composting
In an effort to scale-up food waste composting efforts, in March 2012, UofL established a new sub-contract with QRS/Blue Skies Recycling for collection and pick-up of all food wastes from UofL dining facilities as well as our Early Learning Campus. This allows us to compost both pre- and post-consumer food wastes, as well as meats, bones, and dairy-products, all of which are now collected and composted into organic soil amendments at a site in southern Indiana, about 25 miles north of campus, run by Koetter & Smith. This new system allows us to keep over 300,000 pounds of food waste out of the landfill every year!
July 2010 - June 2013 (& still going!)
Material Composted: 97,880 lbs.
Volunteer Labor: 1450 hours
UofL began on-site composting of pre-consumer, plant-based food waste from its Belknap campus dining facilities in July 2010. The composting program involves employee and student volunteers and was designed to be educational and coordinated with the campus Garden Commons project which needs a steady supply of compost. Read more about the project here.
The project continues today as a service opportunity associated with UofL's EcoReps Program and has evolved into a community composting partnership with neighbors such as the Root Cellar, Quills Coffee, and Ekstrom Library's Tulip Tree Cafe.
- To get involved in the partnership and help keep the cycle of life thriving, contact EcoReps Coordinator, Brian Barnes: brian.barnes (at) louisville.edu, 502-338-1338.
- We need volunteers every Sunday from noon-1pm at our composting site at the Grounds Lot on the 200 block of E. Bloom St. just one block north of Cardinal Blvd. between Bloom and Floyd Streets.
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Students Help Manage UofL's On-Site Composting Program (footage at 4:40):
The University of Louisville Grounds Maintenance Department utilizes selected green waste created from the care of the lawns, landscape and trees on Belknap campus to create compost/mulch on site. This includes chipped/shredded tree limbs, shrub trimmings and leaves. These materials are "tub ground" once or twice per year for mixing and particle size reduction. They are then piled based on their age and turned regularly for aeration. No artificial irrigation is used for the operation. After the materials have decomposed to a satisfactory state, they are used as mulch in campus landscaping or given to the university community.
UofL's research facilities generate about 450 tons/year of waste animal bedding. This material used to be landfilled, but in February 2012, UofL began sending this waste stream to off-site composting facilities, where it is turned into an environmentally-responsible soil amendment. Today it is collected by Waste Management and composted at the Outer Loop Recycling & Disposal Facility, just 8 miles from campus.