Last August Temple University rolled out a new composting program to help cut emissions from land filled solid waste by 10 percent. The program was so successful, it won an award in last year’s nationwide Recylmania contest. Unfortunately the university’s environmentally friendly composting-surge was short-lived.
In it’s inaugural year, Temple’s composting program diverted nearly 370 tons of waste from landfills in fall of 2014. This includes biodegradable material collected at the student center food court and the Liacouras center.
Temple’s program even beat over 600 other schools in Recyclemania’s Gameday Organics Challenge by collecting the most compost at a home basketball game.
All the material collected was meant to Peninsula compost group facility located in Wilmington, DE.
This facility is meant to service most of the northeastern U.S. collecting more than 160 thousand tons of organic waste for redistribution. A few months after Temple’s composting program was put into place the center was shutdown due to odors that affected the surrounding community.
Temple’s Director of Sustainability, Kathleen Grady, says that after the compost facility shut down we needed to focus on reducing our consumption.
”If you take less food at the dining hall and don’t throw it away that is way more sustainable than composting your food waste,” said Grady.
Pre-consumer compost waste, which is the waste discarded prior to being served to customers, is now used here in Temple’s community garden.
Most of Temple’s compost, however, now goes to a waste-to-energy incinerator outside of Philadelphia. This was the only facility that made sense to send the compost to. There are other facilities that can take compost but it would not be cost, or environmentally sustainable since it would take more energy to send the compost to those facilities further away.
Although most waste collected in compost bins is no longer sent to a composting facility we won’t see these containers going away any time soon. Grady is working hard everyday to try and find a new facility that will take in the compost and would be cost effective.
Grady added that, “If more students are able to find out through programs like this that these things are happening then we can maybe start changing the culture of campus.”