Stanford University, CA Composting Program

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Stanford University, CA, US

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Type: Program

Status: Ongoing

Source File: http://recycling.stanford.edu/food/foodindex.html

Description:

Food and Compostable Material

Why Collect and Compost Food Waste?
Americans throw away 474.5 pounds of food waste per person per year. In 2000, food scraps accounted for 25.9 million tons or 11% of municipal solid waste, according to the US EPA. Here at Stanford, we estimate food waste to equal about 16% of solid waste stream. Once collected and composted, the University could have as high as a 75% diversion from the landfill.

Benefits of Composting Food Waste
There are many benefits to composting food waste including making a valuable soil product that will add biodiversity and structure to the soil to increase the health and yields of the soil, avoiding disposal fees at the landfill, helping to meet waste reduction goals, and sustaining local recycling infrastructures. In addition, removing organic material from the landfill reduces the amount of methane that a landfill produces. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 23 times more efficient than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the earth’s atmosphere.

Solid Waste Hierarchy
The hierarchy that we follow when dealing with excess food is to first to reduce the amount of food being served so less food waste can be made. Next we feed the excess to people if possible, then animals. Once we have tried to reduce and reuse the food waste then we compost the food waste.

Challenges
Our compost facility has zero tolerance for contamination in the food waste - meaning we cannot have any non-compostable items in the food/compost material that we bring to them. We do not sort through the compostable material; rather it is hauled directly to the compost facility. Therefore, we have special requirements for those that would like to have this service.

Requirements for Food/Compost Collection from Behind the Counter

  • Agree to source separate out compostable items from trash (see list1).
  • Agree to train staff and volunteers on the food waste and recycling program.
  • Agree to develop announcements, signage, and other educational material to educate staff, volunteers, and customers on food waste and recycling program.
  • Agree to assign staff or volunteers to monitor bins.

Requirements for Food/Compost Collection from Front of Counter

  • Agree to purchase only BPI certified compostable serviceware (Biodegradable Products Institute http://bpiworld.org/BPI-Public/Approved.html).
  • Agree to replace all single-use and/or disposal items with a reusable, recyclable, or compostable option.
  • Agree to have equal number of compost and garbage bins and place them next to each other. - Agree to train staff and volunteers on food waste and recycling program.
  • Agree to develop announcements, signage, and other educational material to educate staff, volunteers, and customers attendees on food waste and recycling program.
  • Agree to assign staff or volunteers to monitor bins.

1 What Can and Cannot Go into the Food and Compostable Material Bin

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