We are COMPOSTING!
Compost is an environmentally-friendly and cost effective way to divert waste from the landfill. When composted, food and paper-products are converted to nutrient rich soil in three months or less rather than sitting in a landfill for hundreds or even thousands of years before breaking down. Composting costs our campus an average of $56/ton, while landfill waste costs us an average of $168/ton.
Since October of 2013, UW-Platteville has been diverting approximately 300 lbs of post-consumer food waste from the landfill EACH DAY at Bridgeway Commons. Back then, we began the project with an area farmer (who also happens to be a UW-Platteville student) picking up the waste daily in 5-gallon buckets (that is a lot of buckets!) and taking it to his farm. Bridgeway was a relatively easy place to start a compost program since there is minimal food packaging and all food waste is scraped off of plates by kitchen staff. In April 2015, we switch our compost provider to a company called Sanimax who picks up the compost using a dumptruck and takes it to a digester in Dane County where it produces electricity and is converted into a dry soil-matter (which is then added to Purple Cow Compost). Switching our provider to Sanimax has allowed us to scale up the size of our compost program and increase the types of items accepted by our compost program. Because Sanimax has a very tightly controlled composting process, we are able to compost a very broad of items including dairy and meat as well as paper towels and the compostable utensils and to-go containers used in the MPSC.
In-Building Compost Collection
Once we switched our compost provider to Sanimax, we began a compost pilot program in Gardner and Wilgus in April of 2015. We found that that Gardner filled one 5-gallon bucket about ⅔ full each week and had no smell or insect concerns. Wilgus filled two five-gallon buckets per week. In fall of 2015, Gardner has opted to expand to two buckets in their building, one on each the first and second floor. Due to the success of that program, in Fall of 2015, we are extending an invite to up to 10 buildings to participate in our voluntary compost program. Read more about this here.
Communal Compost Site
Anyone is invited to drop off their personal compost in the public compost bin located between McGregor and Royce Halls in the Edible Campus Garden (managed by Green Campus Project student organization). If you do use this compost bin, please place your compost in the furthest left bin. As the compost ages, it will be transferred to the bins to the right. Because this bin is relatively small and thus will not reach very high composting heat, we ask that you limit your compost to plant-based materials only (this will help reduce unwanted bacteria). For those that have your own backyard, setting up a compost system at home can be quite easy. Here is some information on how to do it.