[Greener-benches] Composting: From Dining Hall to Harvard Yard

Bemis, Jamie L jamie_bemis at harvard.edu
Mon May 23 11:33:47 EDT 2011


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Composting: From Dining Hall to Harvard Yard

Almost one quarter of the waste produced in the U.S. is organic matter like food scraps and yard trimmings that doesn’t need to end up in the trash. Instead, it can be composted and turned into new, healthy nutrient-rich soil for our gardens or yards.

Putting food waste in the trash creates methane, a greenhouse gas twenty-one times more potent than carbon dioxide. Historically, only 2.6% of organic matter has been composted. Learn how Harvard is changing this pattern and how you can get involved.

Where do some of Harvard’s leftovers end up? And why is it important to compost? View the video by clicking here <http://harvard-ofs.createsend1.com/t/y/l/vyddyt/nkuktirht/t/>  or by clicking the image below:


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Get involved in your community!

·         Jumpstart your home compost and forget about buying expensive fertilizer; Cambridge <http://harvard-ofs.createsend1.com/t/y/l/vyddyt/nkuktirht/p/>  and Boston <http://harvard-ofs.createsend1.com/t/y/l/vyddyt/nkuktirht/x/>  sell discounted backyard compost containers

·         Not sure what to compost? The EPA breaks it down for you <http://harvard-ofs.createsend1.com/t/y/l/vyddyt/nkuktirht/m/> .

·         Many Whole Foods Stores take customer’s food scraps for composting. Give them a call to see if there is a program near you.

Harvard Highlights

Across campus, Harvard students, faculty, and staff are making a difference:

·         Annually we recover 4,000 tons of compostable materials. Food waste is taken to Brick Ends Farm for composting, leaves and other landscaping debris is taken to Arnold Arboretum for composting and HUHDS coffee grounds <http://harvard-ofs.createsend1.com/t/y/l/vyddyt/nkuktirht/c/>  are collected and used by Campus Services to create compost tea.

·         All this composting happens within 24 miles of campus! And the rich fertilizer produced is then used as part of Harvard’s organic landscaping <http://harvard-ofs.createsend1.com/t/y/l/vyddyt/nkuktirht/q/>  efforts, bringing our efforts full circle.

·         HMS distributed potted compost <http://harvard-ofs.createsend1.com/t/y/l/vyddyt/nkuktirht/a/>  and marigold seeds as well as provided information ambassadors in lunch locations as part of an education campaign on Earth Day, when HMS kicked off a new composting program in their cafe.

·         Students and staff at HLS installed compost bins <http://harvard-ofs.createsend1.com/t/y/l/vyddyt/nkuktirht/f/>  in dorms, academic, and administrative buildings which has reduced the levels of compostable waste ending up in HLS trash.

·         Students in Thayer Hall are excited about worms – worm composting that is! Also known as vermiculture <http://harvard-ofs.createsend1.com/t/y/l/vyddyt/nkuktirht/z/> , this student-led composting pilot project, funded by a Sustainability Grant, actively engages students in creative waste-reduction.

·         At Harvard Business School, Harvard Medical School and Harvard Law School all back-of-the-house food waste is composted.

·         The Harvard Community Garden composts its own clippings to incorporate back into the soil. Get involved with the garden <http://harvard-ofs.createsend1.com/t/y/l/vyddyt/nkuktirht/v/>  through the lecture series and community work days.

Have questions -- want to learn more about if your office or School composts? Contact sustainability at harvard.edu <mailto:sustainability at harvard.edu?subject=question%20about%20composting>  or learn more at geen.harvard.edu/compost <http://harvard-ofs.createsend1.com/t/y/l/vyddyt/nkuktirht/e/> .

More Resources

1.	http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/rrr/composting/index.htm <http://harvard-ofs.createsend1.com/t/y/l/vyddyt/nkuktirht/s/> 
2.	http://www.mass.gov/dep/recycle/reduce/composti.htm <http://harvard-ofs.createsend1.com/t/y/l/vyddyt/nkuktirht/g/> 

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