Food Waste Compost Program
Post-Consumer Food Waste Composting Available
U-M Waste Management Services now offers post-consumer food waste composting service to campus. Interested groups should email Recycle (get address) to learn more about the service requirements and availability. The cost is $12.50/cart/pickup. See here for more information about this service.
What we collect and where
The food waste that is collected as part of U of M's food waste compost program is "prep-waste." Prep-waste is vegetative, pre-consumer food waste generated during meal preparation. No plate waste is collected in the program because of the composting method used. Currently, 5 residence halls participate in the food waste program; Betsey Barbour, East Quadrangle, Markley Hall, South Quadrangle and West Quadrangle. The Hill Dining Center, Pierpont Commons cafeteria, the University Catering Services, located in Pierpont Commons, and Palmer Commons also participate.
Where the food waste goes
The waste collected by the Waste Management Services staff is transported to the City of Ann Arbor's compost site. The food waste is mixed with a bulking agent (normally wood chips) and is formed into long piles or "windrows" where air can circulate and aid in the decomposition process. After the food waste has decomposed, the finished compost is tested to assess its potential as fertilizer or soil amendment. If you are interested in participating in the pre-consumer food waste composting program, email us at Recycle (get address).
In March 1997, University of Michigan Waste Management Services and the City of Ann Arbor Solid Waste Department together received a $19,000 grant from the Washtenaw County Department of Public Works through the "Green Backs for Green Acts" grant program. This funding was used to implement a pilot food waste collection and composting program for the University of Michigan. The pilot program was to test the technical and economic feasibility of adding prep-food waste from Dining Services kitchens to the City's composting site by targeting 3 of the 10 residence hall kitchens on campus. The 3 pilot kitchens, East Quadrangle, Markley Hall, and South Quadrangle, prepared on average 5,000 meals each day. During the 8-month pilot program over 30 tons of food waste was collected. The success of this pilot program created the current food waste composting program.
Post-Consumer Composting Study Update
The Waste Reduction and Recycling Office (WRRO) piloted a post-consumer food waste composting pilot in conjunction with the Michigan League this past fall semester.This pilot resulted from the recommendations offered in the Post-Consumer Composting Study published in 2010 and marks the University's first step towards institutionalized post-consumer food waste composting.
Patrons of Beanster's Cafe and the League Underground (featuring Taco Bell and Wendy's) were able to compost any leftover food waste, napkins and certain other wastes in specially-marked compost bins. Read the full report of the pilot here.
In 2010, the University of Michigan Recycling Program contracted with Resource Recycling Systems, Inc. to produce a feasibility study and business case for an on-campus, post-consumer food waste composting program. The report can be found here.
In the meantime, see our Guide to Zero Waste Events. This guide can serve as a starting point for hosting your own zero waste event. Visit our website often for updates.”
Questions and comments should be directed to Recycle (get address)
Content modified: February 21, 2013