Changing the Way the UST Community Thinks about Waste

Pages: 12 (3689 words) Published: March 23, 2013
Overview and purpose of the project:

The purpose of this project is to continue to change the way the UST community thinks about waste. Composting confronts the idea that, when you throw something away it just disappears, and provides alternative to sending our waste to landfills. In the fall of 2012, the CSF funded a project to expand Dr. Chester Wilson’s vermiculture composting system, which composts all of the coffee grounds produced by Beakers on the second floor of OWS. The goal of this previous CSF project was to expand the efforts of Dr. Wilson by collecting and composting much of the coffee grounds produced on north campus, as well as to raise campus awareness on the benefits and ease of composting. This project is well underway, and one can see the worms working their digestive wonders in the parking ramp under ASC. Quinn Wrenholt, the primary applicant of the fall vermicomposting CSF proposal, and other members of the Composting Club have been collecting the coffee grounds from the library Coffee Bene, as well as from T’s, the Loft, and Summit Marketplace in the student center since this spring semester began (with average daily collection of between 12 and 18 gallons of coffee grounds – more than 50 gallons each week). The collection crew, which consists of seven motivated individuals, comprises the core group of the Composting Club and has already logged more than 30 cumulative hours of volunteer time providing a direct service to our campus through collecting the coffee grounds we produce.

Further Composting Club activities have included another 60 hours of volunteer time contributed to the development of a long-term research project connecting the worm composting bins in the ASC parking ramp to the research occurring in the UST Stewardship Garden located in the Green Space behind the BEC. These activities, in particular the daily collection of the mass amounts of coffee grounds has drawn the attention of Tommie Media on numerous occasions already this semester. Quinn Wrenholt will also soon be submitting a blog to the UST Sustainability Blog detailing the progress of the project up to this point and describing in more detail the research being done and some of the additional goals of the Composting Club (

This proposal is to expand our on-campus composting even further by placing vermicompost bins in different departments and office areas around campus. This will allow coffee grounds and other food waste produced in these areas to be composted on site. The composting club will maintain these new bins in addition to the bins in the ASC. Additionally, each bin will be sponsored by an individual who works in the area covered by the bin. These Compost Club Liaisons are the keystone to this project with the Composting Club providing all the necessary support. This project’s proposed budget reflects exactly the number of vermicomposting bins that we have received demand and support for so far (see Appendix A).

This expansion will be a great addition to the composting work started by Chester Wilson on South Campus and expanded to North Campus this past fall, as it will allow many UST faculty and staff to directly participate in the composting process. Additionally, the continued and increasing amount of alternative waste disposal will continue decrease our University’s carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions and increase the awareness of our campus community on issues pertaining to sustainability and waste.

How the project will be implemented:

This project already has all the necessary infrastructure and support in place, except the purchasing of the new, additional worm bins. The vermicomposting station in the ASC parking ramp will serve as the central headquarters for this outreach project. The Composting Club will work with the liaisons to find good locations for the bins within each department. The volunteer liaisons will serve as the day-to-day managers, adding their...
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