Goal: To reduce our campus methane emissions by redirecting food waste from the local landfill in order to create a nutrient-rich fertilizer that we can utilize on campus gardens and landscapes.
By composting, we complete the cycle of returning what was once grown in soil to make it's way back to the soil.
Since September 2016, the Islander Green Team has come together to collect coffee grounds from Starbucks on campus. With the help from the University Police Department and the Environmental, Health and Safety Department, IGT has collected and transported food scraps and organic waste using donated bikes, wagons, and 5-gallon buckets. Starting out with just two compost piles it has quickly grown to six large bins behind our community gardens on campus.
Today, the compost collection sites have expanded with IGT compost collectors picking up from the Starbucks, Einstein Bro. Bagels, Bottom Line Cafe, The Dining Hall, Subway, The Cove and it continues to expand. The number of Islander Green Team volunteers that schedule regular pick-up shifts are growing as well.
Food waste is collected in recycled buckets at the dining facilities where it is then picked up by IGT volunteers. Bikes and wagons are used to transport the food to the composting site behind the TAMUCC Islander Gardens.
Since this project began, we have collected over 19,000 pounds of food waste in less than one year!
We have recently partnered with Mr. Robert Moore, aka "The Soil Guy" on creating more efficient compost bins and creating ideal environments for the beneficial microbial communities that aid in speeding up this natural process. Check out his website at www.thesoilguy.com .
In the near future, we wish to install a large in-vessel composting unit on our campus to sustain the amount of food waste produced. As well as push our dining services to switch to all compostable containers & utensils.
In April of 2017, The Islander Green Team conducted the universities first waste audit at the Early Childhood Development Center on campus. It took 2 days to sort through the waste stream and manually separate the food waste, recyclable material and landfill components. After weighing and measuring, the results were astonishing.
Day one was counting "as is" material, so any plastic that could have been salvaged but was contaminated with food or liquid was still considered trash.
Day two was arranged so that all materials that could have been salvaged for recycling was counted as recyclable (showing what could have been recycled if proper disposal was carried out).
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." - Dr. Susses' The Lorax
1. Would you like to volunteer to be a part of the compost collection crew?
Contact the Islander Green Team at firstname.lastname@example.org or join us at the gardens every Friday at 9:30am for weekly Garden Workshops if you are interested on getting trained for this program.
2. Searching for a place to compost your food scraps? Would you like to begin composting but unsure on how to start?
We highly encourage faculty, staff and students to bring their home food scraps to the compost! For now, we recommend only placing in organic components such as fruits, vegetables, egg shells and other easily biodegradable material.
Bring your items Friday morning after 9:30am when we'll be out there for the Garden Workshops for a run-down on how to get started on using our composting piles!
Click here for directions on where the gardens & compost sites are located.
Thank you for your interest in a more sustainable Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi!