Composting (pizza boxes) in the Commons

My university library – the campus, the city too – does composting, which includes pizza boxes! Background: The library started a small composting project in the staff lounge about a year ago with fabulous results  of over 469 Gallons Composted (plus 110 pizza boxes) since March 31, 2014!  The success of this project lead us to consider composting library wide – with our users.Other libraries have initiated similar ideas (DU libraries, JHU Libraries)

Before we began, a waste audit was conducted this spring by our sustainability/recycling folks on campus in our busiest area, the Learning Commons, and  during the end of “dead week” and finals, when the traffic normally doubles. The results of this audit showed the recyclable/compostable materials made up 47% (by weight) and compostable materials alone made up 34% (by weight) of the waste stream that day. But before we launch into a full-blown composting program we started with a small a pilot project in the Learning Commons area, just to collect and compost PIZZA BOXES for that last week of the term. We posted signs around the library to bring them to the Info Desk. In the end we collected 72 boxes total! Next… can we do composting in the Learning Commons all term? We will start with a pilot this summer…. stay tuned!



Composting at your library

Coffee grounds, left over lunches, party food wastes…. want to try composting these materials (to use in your library gardens!) but how to do this efficiently, w/o smell or mess? Look for a compact, odor free, easy to use, type model. There are two composters at Nature Mill (a regular $299 and pro $399) which offer all of the above benefits and are worth checking out. They do plug in and use electricity, but only about 10 watts per month (about 50 cents). But the ease at which they can be emptied w/o the usual mess of other composters may convince others in your office to participate.

There are many other options for composters that require a little more work. Gaiam offers a few choices at a much lower cost and uses no electricity such as this positively reviewed Bokashi, or some general kitchen composters. You can go all out with an all natural worm composter if you are dedicated to the work it will entail.