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Pre-consumer Compost

USU composter

Utah State University began composting in January 2015. The project was a joint venture of Dining Services and Facilties with additional funding through a Student Sustainability Grant. The composter processes approximately 32 tons of food per year from the kitchens of USU Dining Services and Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Science. Later the same year, UCAIR and Facilities purchased an electric vehicle to collect food scraps for the composter. The compost is used in campus gardens.

Frequently Asked Questions

A committee compared several composters. Then, the university issued an RFP with specifications. The committee chose the composter that best met the university's needs at the lowest cost.
USU uses an EF-12 Earth Flow Composting System from Green Mountain Technologies. It began operations in January 2015.
No, the university bought a composter larger than the estimated need to allow for growth. If USU needed more capacity, it would need another composter.
USU composts over 32 tons of food per year. Additional wood chips are composted with the food but not weighed.
Fruit and vegetable scraps, bread, and wood chips are the major components of USU's compost. Fat and protein cannot exceed 20% of the feedstock. Compostable plastics do not breakdown quickly enough to add to the unit.
USU collects food scraps from the two large dining hall kitchens on campus. These kitchens also do some food preparation for the cafes. The Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Science kitchen, Edith Bowen Elementary Lab School, greenhouse, and wood chips from pruning trees also contribute to the composter.
Rather than add water, landscape operations increased the food to bulk material ratio, which also increased food capacity. The compost requires up to two gallons of water per a day. The composter is not independently metered for electricity. It has regular mix cycles, and the fan runs all the time. The biofilter helps with odor.
Collection, loading, unloading, and maintenance take up to 20 hours per week.
Some pineapple tops and avocado pits survive the process. After curing, landscape operations uses the compost on campus.

 Post-consumer Compost

Post-consumer compost

Although the university has facilitated post-consumer composting in the past, the projects did not last due to student leaders graduating and contamination. Students launched another pilot project for a compost drop-off in spring 2018. The pilot project depends on the people who use the compost bin to keep it free of trash.

Drop scraps in the box located in the Biology Natural Resources courtyard.

YES
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Bread
  • Coffee grounds
  • Paper tea bags (no tags or staples)
  • Egg shells
  • Paper napkins
NO
  • Meat
  • Dairy
  • Whole eggs
  • Liquids
  • Plastics
  • "Compostable" plastics
  • Waxed paper products
  • Food wrappers
  • Fat
  • Protein