Compost Program

Composting at TAMU-CC

Goal: Reduce food waste sent to the local landfill by diverting it to organic decay. This creates a nutrient-rich fertilizer that is utilized on campus gardens and landscapes.

 

NOTICE: Drop-off compost to the garden is currently open. Please place your scraps into the blue bins or a bucket with a sealed lid. Thank you.

 

What you can do:

1. Volunteer to be a part of the compost crew 

Join us at the gardens every Friday at 9:00am for weekly Garden Workdays or contact the Islander Green Team at islander.green@tamucc.edu if you are interested on being trained for this program. It's a great opportunity for service hours and to learn about the beauty and science behind returning food scrap nutrients back to the soil. 

Click here for directions to the garden & compost location. 

2. Searching for a place to compost your food scraps? Would you like to begin composting but unsure on how to start?

Faculty, staff, and students are very encouraged to bring their personal kitchen scraps to the compost operation!

Individuals are asked to donate a weekly maximum of one 5 gallon bucket worth of organic materials:

Do Add:

  • fruit/vegetable scraps
  • egg shells
  • coffee grounds
  • tea bags

Do NOT Add:

  • bones
  • meat
  • dairy items
  • chemicals

Please utilize the 5 gallon buckets to the left of the shed, secure lid, and place on the right of the shed. You may also add scraps to one of the two large blue bins; be sure to clasp straps back together. Islander Green Team members will handle all donated compostable materials.

Additionally, individuals are encouraged to donate the listed yard waste and carbon-based materials:

  • shredded paper
  • backyard leaf mulch
  • wood chips
  • grass cuttings
  • dead plants

These materials can be delivered to the mulch pile near the tool shed or behind the shed where the supply of dried plants is situated. All these materials will be recorded and utilized as feedstock to the compost. 

All materials can be delivered at any time. Just be sure to close all buckets and bins containing food organics. This will ensure no raccoons will get to it before we do!

NOTE: Please refrain from donating compostable materials during scheduled University holidays:

  • Thanksgiving Break: November 26th-27th, 2020
  • Winter Break: December 23rd-January 1st, 2021
  • Spring Break: March 8th-12th, 2021

 

How to Compost Guide

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) 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.

 compostimagespring2020.jpgfffcompostimagespring2020.jpgwindrowcompostspring2020.jpg

 

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 & The Cove. Our efforts continue to expand, with student residents now dropping off their food waste as well. The number of volunteers that help to sift the bins to new stages is also increasing.

Food waste is collected in recycled buckets at the dining facilities where it is then picked up by IGT volunteers or EH & S student workers. Bikes and electric golf carts are used to transport the food to the composting site behind the TAMUCC Islander Gardens. 

 compost-bins2.large 

 

 Since this project began, we have collected over 80,000 pounds of campus food & yard waste since 2016!

We have partnered with The College of Science and Engineering on creating a Solar Powered Composter. As well as creating efficient compost bins, which produce ideal environments for beneficial microbial communities to compost our raw materials. We are continuously seeking knowledgeable soil/gardening experts for our on-going projects.

If you are interested in getting involved as a instructor or advisor please email us at: islander.green@tamucc.edu.

 

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 proposing that our dining services switch to all compostable containers & utensils. Thank you for your interest in a more sustainable Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi!