Compost Plans Still in Early Stages

According to Housing and Dining Sustainability Manager Krista Mays, the HDH dining locations produce four tons of compost daily, none of which is being composted because no site on campus that can handle such a large volume of waste.

The university is currently communicating with the City of San Diego’s food scrap program at Miramar Landfill, a private site off-campus.

“Miramar Landfill has received approval to expand its composting program,” Campus Sustainability Coordinator Maggie Souder said. “UC San Diego would like to be included as a customer in Miramar’s composting program.”

However, approval to take part in the program is highly competitive.

“Everyone has the same issue,” Souder said. “Everyone wants to minimize landfill waste and everyone wants to do it at Miramar.”

For now, the composting bins at dining halls serve only to encourage students to separate their compost into the appropriate receptacles.

“We are working with our dining guests to sort their waste into the correct bins, so that when we can take the composting to the city’s program the material is clean and ready to go,” Mays said. “We anticipate being able to actually divert the compostables to the city’s compost facility by the end of 2009.”

HDH has also encountered budgeting obstacles. Last year, HDH planned to hire analysts to study the university’s food waste and suggest ways to decrease it; however, the plan was never implemented due to lack of funds.

In addition, UCSD’s waste diversion specialist resigned and the position will not be filled. Instead, Sustainability Analyst Kristen Hansen will take on the position’s responsibilities, which include helping the campus increase diversion waste, promoting recycling programs and increasing access to local composting.

Souder said that UCSD is planning to write composting agreements into its contracts with waste haulers that provide composting services on their sites.

The Compost Team, a student organization dedicated to composting and sustainability, composted 100 pounds of waste last year. The group originally intended to compost all waste on campus, but the enormity of the task proved unfeasible.

According to founder Michelle Kizner, the group is now focused on raising awareness and encouraging people to bring their compost material from home to the team’s small compost site located near the Hopkins Parking Structure.

“We are looking to begin composting with student entities like the Food Co-op and the Grove, and will also use the site as a drop-off location for interested people to bring their compostables,” Kizner said.

Readers can contact Angela Chen at [email protected].

Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$2320
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$2320
$500
Contributed
Our Goal