Emory Report
June 22, 2009
Volume 61, Number 33


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June 22, 2009
Campus composting wastes no time reducing excess

By Kelly Gray

Garbage in doesn’t always mean garbage out. That is what Emory is anticipating with the introduction of a composting pilot program at the Dobbs University Center (DUC) Dining facility this month. As part of Emory’s sustainability vision, the University has a goal of diverting 65 percent of overall waste and 95 percent of food waste from landfills by 2015.

Composting is nature’s process to recycle decomposed organic materials into a rich soil known as compost. This process returns nutrients back into the soil, perpetuating the cycle of life.

Running for seven weeks, the composting program will take pre-consumer organic food waste collected at the DUC and haul it 60 miles to the state’s first Environmental Protection Division-permitted composting facility in Barnesville, Ga., instead of hauling the waste to the Pine Bluff landfill.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the decomposition of food and other waste in landfills produces methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

“Emory’s commitment to composting supports the University’s goal of making our campus more sustainable. Compost offers a sustainable ‘closed loop:’ from table, to compost, to garden or farm, back to table,” says Director of Sustainability Ciannat Howett. “Diverting food waste from landfills also reduces Emory’s greenhouse gas footprint while saving the University money in landfill tipping fees.”