Welcome to BioBag’s Community Heroes series! Each month, we will highlight community heroes that are making a difference in their communities and working to make their local environments cleaner and healthier.
This month, we are taking a look at the Office of Sustainability at Georgia College & State University!
OOS at GA College makes it simple and convenient for students, faculty, and staff to participate in the various campus recycling programs. That’s why Georgia College implemented a food organics composting program in 2017 with the help of OSS. Using grant funds from the Sustainability Fee Program, GC purchased a 6 cubic yard in-vessel composting machine and constructed a dedicated composting site to divert campus-generated food waste from the landfill. With greater awareness of the environmental challenges that affect us locally and globally, Georgia College has renewed its commitment to taking stock of its own environmental impact and exploring ways in which the university community can enhance the environmental of our campus.
Check out our interview below with Anna Lippy, GA College Compost Intern with OOS to find out more!
What led you to start your composting operation?
Lippy: Our campus compost program started in a professor’s backyard as an assignment for a Soil and Environmental Quality course. The assignment involved making a greenhouse for a community project, and students were inspired to have a small compost system at the greenhouse. Then, this interest further drove students to draft a proposal for a campus compost machine in 2016. Since then, we have diverted over 60,000 pounds of food from our dining hall that otherwise would have been sent to the landfill.
Who do you serve, and how can people get in touch with you if they want to start composting?
Lippy: We collect the food waste from our university dining services from both back and front of house. This includes the pre-consumer waste, which is the excess food that isn’t served to students, and post-consumer waste, which is the food that gets scraped off students’ plates. The compost we produce is then used in our organic campus garden where students can learn about organic farming practices and community members can rent out garden beds. Currently, one of our interns is working on creating a business plan for selling our finished compost material to local farmers and gardeners as her senior capstone project.
How much organic material do you typically take in on a weekly basis?
Lippy: Our team accepts about 1,000 pounds of food waste each week.
Please give us one fun fact about you or your business.
Lippy: Our program is heavily student led; it was created from student interest and continues to be sustained through student involvement. We listen to Shakira in the work truck on the way to and from the compost site.
Feel free to add any additional information about your operation as you see fit.
Lippy: We add locally sourced, untreated saw dust and woodchips to our food residuals to get a balanced carbon to nitrogen ratio. Our compost is used in campus research labs.
If you would like to be featured in a future edition of Community Heroes, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.