Food to fertilizer: JCCC’s composting system reduces waste

Produced by Rohan Patel


Rohan Patel: JCCC is a top 10 community college for sustainability. One of the ways we maintain our spot on the top 10 list is through composting. Krystal will explain how the composting process works on our campus.

Krystal Anton: For composting on this campus, what happens is that the all of the kitchen places on the campus collect the food in bins and then the [Center for] Sustainability interns go at 3 p.m. every day to all the coffee shops, culinary center, tempo, food court, and then the child care center. And then they pick up all of the kitchen waste from um, when they do the prep work. We average about 150 to 500 pounds every day. So, the interns, they drive all that out to our compost shed and we have in vessel composter out there. So, they are putting the food in to a giant mixer and food is nitrogen, so they need to carbon into that to get a good mix. We use wood chips and we also add saw dust and we mix all of that together. We try to get it, like the consistency of quinoa. Um, and then it gets augured up into our big vessel. And it goes through that vessel for somewhere between, like five to seven days and so when we put, like, food and stuff at one end, everything that comes out the back end looks like dirt. It’s not finished compost but it’s all black, it looks like soil. After that we put the compost into — we have three bases out there and we pile it into these concrete bases we have. And that continues to cook the compost, so at that point the compost should reach somewhere between 150 and 160 degrees.

Rohan Patel: We compost over 95,000 pounds of food waste in a single year and the compost that we produce is later used on our campus farm. From The Campus Ledger, this is Rohan Patel.



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