Discover Your Island

Compost Program

Introducing Compost to TAMUCC

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.

Why We Compost?

  1. Saves resources: Composting keeps valuable resources out of the landfill and cycles it back into our landscape. Food waste accounts for 40% of residential waste. With this volume, we can turn wasted nutrients into a sustainable cycle for local uses. 
  2. Improves soil: Compost is a mild, slow releasing, nutrient-rich natural fertilizer that yields better plant growth than chemical fertilizers. It also improves soil texture, air circulation for heavier soils, and increases water retention. 
  3. Reduces Environmental impacts: Compost eliminates the use of chemical fertilizers that could potentially runoff into our local waters, creating imbalances of the local ecosystem. It also reduces Green House Gases (GHG's) in two ways
    1. Reducing CO2 emissions from vehicles used to transport waste.
    2. Organics that break down anaerobically (with out oxygen), such as in a landfill, produce methane gas. This emission is 21 times more potent that CO2. We reduce this number when we divert TAMUCC's organic waste.
  4. Saves money: No need to buy artificial fertilizers, and reduction of waste by 40% saves landfill trip fees. Compost also retains soil moisture which means less water for irrigation. 

By composting, we complete the cycle of returning what was once grown in soil to make it's way back to the soil.

 

  

 

How We Began

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.

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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.  

Here are more articles written on our compost program and its beginnings!

  1. KRIS-TV
  2. TAMUCC Article News
  3. Islander Waves news
  4. USA today
  5. Caller times

 

 

Waste Audit

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

 

What you can do to be a part of this effort

1. Would you like to volunteer to be a part of the compost collection crew? 

Contact the Islander Green Team at islander.green@tamucc.edu 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.

How to Compost Guide

 

Thank you for your interest in a more sustainable Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi!