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Composting at Westminster - Past & Future

Posted on Tuesday, September 5, 2006

At the beginning of the fall semester I alerted the campus to the composting project that was jumpstarted by a grant from Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Resources. We are on our way. Your cooperation is needed to rescue such common compostables as food wastes (both pre-consumer and post-consumer) and other organics that deserve our best efforts.

Records on composting at the Field Station have been kept for the past 12 months. I share these with you and trust you are interested:

Sodexho food wastes: 4.28 tons (for one semester)
Animal housing/cage litter: 1.34 tons
Wood chips: 4.47 tons
Shredded paper: 0.37 ton
Pondweed from Brittain Lake: 20 tons
Leaves from the Boro: 56 tons
Community food/yard waste: 1.8 tons
Other: 0.96 ton
Total: 89.22 tons

When this amount of "feedstock" has matured (6 to 8 months or so), at least 45 tons of soil will have been generated. The compost will be used in tree planting and mulching. Small amounts will be given away as potting soil.

The next stage of composting will begin with the second semester. All existing compost efforts will be continued and, with the help of students from the Sierra Student Coalition, shredded campus newspapers will be significantly increased. The plan is to also increase the amount of community waste (yard waste and food waste) that can be turned into good soil. Here is where you can help.

If you do not compost, consider bringing your home bagged food and yard waste to one of two places at the College: platform with garbage bins in the compactor area (east of the Hoyt traffic circle) or platform with garbage bins at the Field Station (1 mile east on Rt 208 and ½ mile south on the Fayette-New Wilmington Road). Office waste (coffee grounds, tea bags, wilted flowers, shredded paper, paper napkins, paper plates) will also be welcomed.

If you wish more information on composting or would like to volunteer your services, please let me know.

Westminster is becoming just a bit greener!

Clarence Harms, Director of the Field Station

Click below for details on our composting efforts.