SMM Web Academy - Universities and the Food Recovery Challenge Transcript
Patric Jones, MDB, Inc.
Laura Moreno (Moderator), Environmental Scientist, Office of Pollution Prevention and Solid Waste, US EPA
Kaye Johnson, Sustainability Coordinator, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Velda Robbins, Building Services Manager and Chair of Recycling and Waste Reduction Subcommittee of the UMKC Sustainability Team, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Corey Hawkey, Sustainability Coordinator, Ohio State University
Rob Gogan, Recycling and Waste Manager, Harvard University
Patric Jones: Today’s seminar will be moderated by Laura Moreno. Laura Moreno is an Environmental Scientist in the Office of Pollution Prevention and Solid Waste in the U.S. EPA Protection Agency’s Pacific Southwest Region. Laura focuses primarily on food waste and diverting the more than 33 million tons that reach landfills each year. Laura Co-Chairs Region 9’s internal biogas workgroup which aims to increase biogas production from food and wastewater treatment plants, areas and landfills in the Pacific Southwest. Additionally, she works on recycling, Zero Waste, and greening Federal facilities.
With that, we are now ready to start the seminar. I will now turn the time over to Laura. Laura?
Laura Moreno: Greetings, and welcome to the January 2012 Edition of the Sustainable Materials Management Web Academy. We are happy to have you participating. This 90-minute monthly Education Series is hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to provide training and a networking opportunity to state and local governments, nongovernmental organizations, and other stakeholders.
Jacob Hassan is a Community Recycling Coordinator in U.S. EPA Chicago's Materials Management Program, and will give a nuts-and-bolts primer on establishing recycling programs at large, multi-venue sporting events, using examples from his work at the 2010 and 2011 NCAA Men's and Women's final four basketball championships. He'll cover best practices, challenges, and lesson learned.
As Patrick mentioned, today’s topic is Universities and the Food Recovery Challenge. Our goal today is to both educate and motivate you to join EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge, which is a free initiative that organizations commit to to reduce the amount of food waste reaching landfills.
How much of your food and money are you or your organization literally throwing away? The Food Recovery Challenge challenges participants to identify their food waste and to reduce as much of their food waste as possible, utilizing EPA’s hierarchy, while saving money, helping communities, and protecting the environment.
Food waste is a bit of a misnomer, as well. Food waste that is recovered is actually a valuable resource, hence, the name of the Food Recovery Challenge. Currently enough food is sent to landfills in the U.S. to fill the Rose Bowl Stadium every single day. So, with that, we encourage you to visit epa.gov/foodrecoverychallenge if you’d like to learn more or join us in this effort.
Today we have three knowledgeable speakers lined up. The first speaker is Kaye Johnston, Sustainability Coordinator at University of Missouri-Kansas City. She will discuss University of Missouri-Kansas City’s experiences as the dining operation strives for Zero Waste. Following her presentation, we will hear from Corey Hawkey, Sustainability Coordinator at Ohio State University. He will be presenting on Ohio State University’s organic recycling program across their campus and in their stadium.
For the third and final presentation we will hear from Robert Gogan, Recycling and Waste Manager at Harvard University. Rob will talk about Harvard University’s strategies for reducing (inaudible) dewatering and composting food scraps in an urban environment.
After each speaker we will pause and answer one or two burning questions. We will also have time at the end of the session for your questions.
Thanks, again, for participating, and we’re going to get started. Our first speaker is Kaye Johnston. Kaye has been working in the environmental field for the past 16 years as the Sustainability Coordinator and as the Sustainability Coordinator for UMKC since July of 2010. Her experience is managing sustainability initiatives, and currently UMKC’s dining operations are striving for Zero Waste. And, with that, I will send it off to Kaye.
Kaye Johnston's Presentation
Kaye Johnston: Thank you, Laura. I really appreciate the opportunity to come here today and to speak with everybody about what we’re doing here at UMKC on campus. I will say that our sustainability initiatives, one of our primary goals is to get as close to Zero Waste as possible, and that would be completely impossible without our Dining Services initiative that’s on the path to Zero Waste.
I also have with me today Ms. [Velda Robbins]. She is a UMKC’s Building Services Manager, as well as the Chair of the Recycling and Waste Reduction Subcommittee of the UMKC Sustainability Team. Velda will be adding comments periodically through the presentation when she feels like there is a need to elaborate a little bit more.
Velda, would you like to say hello to everyone?
Velda Robbins: Hello, everyone.
Kaye Johnston: Thank you, Velda.
So really when you get down to it I’ve been doing this work a very long time, and one of the things that’s most important when you’re doing any kind of sustainable initiative is to have partnerships. And so we began discussions back in 2007. Jodie Jeffries, who is our Director of Student Services, and Jodie sat down, first made the contract with [DEXO], who is our Dining Services provider, to talk about what we could do to reduce waste and specifically about composting.
At the same time that was happening Missouri Organic Recycling locally, had started a program called FRED. That program was really mostly about food residuals, and it became their environmental vision, and so that’s what that acronym means. So in 2008 we were able to sign a contract with Missouri Organic Recycling for them to come actually on campus, they provide bins, and they come on campus, and haul away those compostables.
Included in that at the very same time there’s a lot of things going on at the same time. The UMKC Sustainability Team that began in 2008 with their 2008 goals had really started talking about waste on campus through a variety of measures. And one of those was composting throughout campus. And in 2010 made a commitment to go with a Zero Waste goal.
Then another initiative came about through our sustainability initiative, and it was the formation of the UMKC Garden Collective. And that is a student led organization that’s under our Student Government Association, and so it’s a sanctioned club, and the community garden and onsite composting that began in 2010.
To kind of round all this out and tie it together, we became a WasteWise partner in 2010 and joined the Food Recovery Challenge here for 2011, and that’s been very helpful in giving us some clear-sighted goals to achieve in 2011 and then also in ’12. We also include our campus facilities lawn and landscaping services, and in 2012 they are going to start a program this spring for all the organic composting operations.
So that kind of gives you an idea of really the partnerships that it takes. It’s not just an initiative by one or two people, or even one department, as you can see there’s a lot of people involved.
I’m going to go over each of these partnerships and kind of explain how we got our organic recycling or composting going. Of course, as I stated before, we joined the FRED program, and really that was about collecting pre-consumer and post-consumer waste and food waste. And it is mixed with organics with yard waste to make what they call their nature wide compost. So they provide the special containers. They’re 95-gallon containers that have wheels, and they line them with biodegradable bags. And the Dining Services operation does pay for those biodegradable bags, and then they’re the ones who come once a week and they haul away those compostables.
So, DEXO, our Dining Services operations, everyone from the head chef, all the food chefs, all the line workers, everyone really in the organization has to be part of this initiative going forward. So when the organization signed on to the FRED program one of the things that we had to do was decide where we’re going to actually place bins. They’re (inaudible) gallon bins with biodegradable liners were set in the dock area of our main food services area. And, of course, we schedule that once-a-week pick-up.
Also, there is a 55-gallon container in the dining area and it’s assigned for students and folks that are patrons of our Dining Services so that they can also use it for food scraps. The Dining Services also went with, and I’ll go into this in a little bit more detail, compostables as far as utensils and plates, cups, and that sort of thing. And so it really made it kind of easy for the patrons to be able to use that, provision for that.
Also, in addition to that, a lot of staff training. It is really important that everybody be onboard, as I stated earlier.
And Dining Services has really stepped up to the plate, and they are part of our Sustainability Team, they are part of our Recycle and Waste Reduction Subcommittee. And one of the things that we had as a challenge, and you’re going to run into challenges anytime you start one of these programs, is straws, plastic straws. I know a long time ago you used to be able to get paper straws, and paper straws were kind of the norm. Well, when plastic straws became the norm they created this huge problem of contamination in compostables.
Well, after doing quite a bit of search what we found is that a company, several companies, actually, do make compostable straws. And so our Dining Services as far as the new semester here in 2012 decided that they were going to go ahead and participate and purchase those. Right now, because of volume levels the cost is a little higher, however, they’ve made that commitment, which is really what’s needed.
In addition to that, we also had a challenge with individual condiments. The City Health Inspectors had come to campus and had made the decision that we couldn’t use bulk condiment dispensing, that we had to go with individual packets. Well, another partnership that we have here at the University is with the Director of Environmental Services with the City, and they have also a Zero Waste goal. And so we contacted that individual, and that individual then really had this discussion with the Health Department, and then we were able to negotiate being able to have the condiments in bulk.
And the reason why is that when you have individual condiment packets that’s another contamination to your organic stream. So we were able to get that taken care of and as of two weeks ago when we began spring our Dining Services is now able to get rid of those challenges and have a cleaner organic waste stream.
So we’re doing the organic composting. All of our napkins, of course, are made out of recycled material. Biodegradable utensils. And what’s interesting, and I see I’ve put the napkins there twice, I guess one of the emphasis is when you’re going to compost and recycle it’s really important to buy recycled. And I understand that the FDA has just approved a cup that is made out of recycled content, paper. And so that’s very exciting on campus, anytime we can do that.
Anyway, we have the UMKC sustainability 2010 goal for Zero Waste by 2015. What has been happening on campus is that we have been kind of hovering around that 50% as far as what our recycling rate is. The hope is that we’re going to be able to really increase that this year by quite a sum. And what I mean by that is even about 10% increase in our recycling rate in 2012 is what we’re really hoping for and even maybe more aggressive than that. The Waste Reduction and Recycling Subcommittee, I’ll let Velda Robbins talk with you just briefly about how that Waste Reduction Recycling Subcommittee works.
Velda Robbins: Well, we meet with all the building contact people and we share the information with them concerning Zero Waste and our sustainability program. We also have new containers that we’re implementing across campus, and they’re little, small black waste containers that have waste on them. And then they sit on the side of the 28-gallon recycle bins that are (inaudible) as well. And so this actually shares with people that there’s little waste, very little perishables, and then everything else can be recycled. And so we are leading with all of our building liaison people across campus, sharing the information, and also educating them, as well.
Kaye Johnston: Thank you, Velda. I know that the work that Velda does with her group is really critical to our program.
In addition to that, another component to our program is signage and education, especially when you’re doing postconsumer composting and having adequate signage, signs that people don’t really don’t have to read, we call it very intuitive. There’s pictures, it’s very easy to understand.
And also doing peer-to-peer education. We have several student groups that actually have gone to our Dining Services area and helped other students understand how the program works, and that really helps. And this is an ongoing program, it’s ongoing, we’re learning every semester how to overcome some of the challenges. Our program for our participants, our students that are really doing postconsumer composting, have a long way to go. I would say that we’re closer to our goals behind in the kitchen areas more so than out with the public, but it’s something we’re continually striving for. It’s really a plan in action.
We also have monthly meetings on the challenges. We get together with this Recycling Waste Reduction Subcommittee and then bring those forward to our Sustainability Team. And we really kind of talk about how we can overcome these challenges, similar to the straw challenge and some of those contaminant challenges.
The next thing is to track your composting weight. We’ve so far had nine tons of composting. What we’re hoping to be able to do is to increase that tremendously in the coming months.
And then, of course, once you look at your challenges, your tracking, then you’re constantly readjusting your programs. And I can’t state that enough how important it is to constantly make your program a living program so that it’s constantly being readjusted to fit the needs and to fit the incoming students for that particular semester.
The UMKC Garden Collective, like I said before, is an all student led group. They do have compost training and education. They work really close with the Kansas City, Missouri community gardens. Most students when they come on, a lot of students when they come on campus have never had a growing experience, they’ve never raised their own vegetables, and they’ve never really – they don’t even know what composting is and how it works. So being able to have experts in that field and having them really work with our students has been a really great asset on campus.
They have very small composting onsite, it’s basically from their small garden operation, but they also do coffee ground composting and that sort of thing. And then when the compost is completed and finished they use that compost in the garden. So there’s this full circle awareness where students are seeing that everything comes from the ground and then goes back into the ground. And I think it’s really been a great experience. And, so far, we’ve had about 75 students go through that program over the past few years, and it’s growing and it’s continuing to really be something that we’re seeing more and more students involved with.
This last spring and summer and the fall we had the Student Government Association President become involved, and then he also brought along with him some of the Greek organizations, and trying to get students that aren’t necessarily environmental study students that aren’t just biology students involved so that we get a further awareness.
We are really excited to be part of the EPA Region 7 and EPA WasteWise and the Food Recovery Challenge. We have submitted our baselines, and we know that we’re going to have ongoing reporting. And I think what reporting does is that it sets a stage for some accountability and also helps you kind of understand where you’re currently at and what goals you need to set to move forward. And so the partnership with EPA WasteWise and the Food Recovery Challenge I think is a great thing, and I would encourage any University or any campus to be involved with that.
Lawn and Landscaping Services, and I know this has been mostly about food and food recovery, however, I will say that there’s also a lot of compostables out on the grounds at University campuses. And we’re an urban University campus so we don’t have as much land as a lot Universities do, but having – and we have – we’re kind of landlocked, we have a lot of neighborhood communities around us so we don’t have like a lot of space to do like our own composting area.
But what we do have is we have this partnership with Missouri Organics, and so what we’re looking at is compostable bags in 2012, separating out that yard waste, making sure that the bins for that stay. And then, of course, signage, training of the staff, and it’s really become our biggest opportunity. But I don’t think that we would have gotten there had we had not done the food composting the past few years. And so it’s kind of nice to see your program grow like that, and so I would like to encourage everyone to once you’ve got your food composting going, kind of look at some of those bigger opportunities.
So the 2012 goals for composting with the Lawn and Landscaping, plus our food, with everything going on we would love to see that raised to about 100 tons in 2012. We would like to see the Dining Services, and I think we’re really well on our way for our Zero Waste in Dining Services. And through the composting of all of our lawn and landscaping organics, together, that would be a great partnership to really kind of launch our composting and also be able to reach our goals of getting closer to Zero Waste.
And it’s all about the campus as a learning environment. All of our missions as Universities is really to impact students, to impact the quality of their learning experience, their educational experience, their life on campus. And so our Garden Collective helps do that, along with the peer-to-peer education opportunities that we have. And all together with everything that we’re doing it’s just really a great thing.
So, overall, I would like to just encourage everyone out there that even if it may seem like a daunting task to get your whole campuses involved. It’s really manageable, and it really can happen, it just takes incremental step by step in order to do that.
So I want to thank Laura Moreno, our EPA, and the Food Recycling Challenge for inviting us today to give our story and to talk about what we’re doing on campus.
Laura Moreno: Great. Thanks, Kaye, so much. That was very interesting. We have a lot of questions, but I’m just going to ask one burning question and we’ll come back to a lot of the questions that people sent in at the end.
But one of the questions was related to your bulk condiments, and somebody asked how you obtained approval for the bulk condiments and what did you have to do to satisfy regulations by the Department of Health?
Kaye Johnston: Well, one of the things that is really great when you really foster a lot of great partnerships, the environmental – the Director of Environmental over at the City was extremely helpful, that was one of the very first contacts I made. Plus I always talked to my Region 7, the counterpart to you, Laura, in our Region about maybe what we could do about it. So they talked to a few people, as well.
But what we ended up doing is really it kind of resolved itself, the Health Inspector ended coming over and they – along with the DEXO, our Dining Services, decided that what they would do is have bulk condiments with the actual sleeve guards above those bulk condiments. And by doing that then we no longer had to have those individual packets that were contaminating our compost. Does that answer the question?
Laura Moreno: Yes, it does. Thank you very much.
So we’re going to go over to our second speaker now. Our second speaker is Corey Hawkey. Since February 2010 Corey has been working diligently to expand and enhance Ohio State University’s sustainability effort. He has expanded organics recycling across campus, started moving Ohio Stadium towards Zero Waste, and created a Zero Waste event service. Previously, Corey served as the first Sustainability Coordinator for the Ohio Board of Regents, beginning in November of 2008. And, with that, I’ll turn it over to Corey.
Corey Hawkey's Presentation
Corey Hawkey: Thank you. Good afternoon, good morning to those on the West Coast. I’d like to thank the EPA for inviting me to present today. I’ll be providing you an overview of the organics recycling at the Ohio State University, and I have a lot to cover, and I’ll move quickly, but be happy to follow-up with anybody with any questions afterwards.
Before I begin, I would like to echo Kaye’s highlights on the importance of partnerships. I definitely recommend reaching out to partners before you begin your programs, if you haven’t already, especially with your composter. Where are you planning on taking your materials?
So my presentation will feature a brief introduction on the goals and how (inaudible) got started here at the University, and then I will provide a brief overview about a few of the programs and some lessons learned for each of them.
At Ohio State our goal is to have 40% of our materials from the landfill. Last year our diversion rate was a little over 24% and this year we were seeking a 28% goal. We hope to reach the 40% goal by 2015.
With a campus of over 50,000 students and 25,000 staff we do generate a lot of trash. In 2010 we generated over 12,000 tons, which is down 6% compared to 2004. We’re very proud of the efforts that we’ve made in recycling. We’ve increased recycling 53% compared to 2004, and we’re now diverting nearly 4,000 tons of materials from the landfill. Our diversion includes comingled recycling, electronics, organic materials, books, and some other items.
It started small at the University. We were doing organics from landscaping, we’re doing about 300 to 600 tons a year, and it also included animal bedding from our vet hospital. But our first year we spent was done during the Ohio State, Florida Buckeye bash a couple years ago, we had over 700 people, we achieved a 96% diversion rate. The event really showed Administrators and Staff that Zero Waste was not that difficult and actually achievable. As you can see, the events, we really only had about a quarter bag full of trash, you can see that in the photo.
At Ohio State we’ve been developing the sustainable materials management strategy, and that includes a comingled recycling program, Zero Waste efforts, and a collection program. Soon we hope to release our sustainable materials management policy, and we hope that we’ll really set a new standard for policies in higher education.
And now I’ll talk about some of our programs. The LEED, certified Ohio Union created in 2010 was the first facility and campus to capture organic materials for recycling. There are three pulping units, two on the first floor, one on the second floor, kitchen. Pulp is pushed through the building to the extractor (inaudible) near the loading dock. And the extractor removes water from the material and dumps pulp into 65-gallon medical waste toters that we’ve adapted for our purposes.
Toters are stored at the loading dock for collection. About 20 of them are collected at a time. In the first year of operation the Union recycled 140 tons, we recycled 32 tons of organics. The pulping units have a significant upfront installation cost but they can be worked into the new construction and major renovation projects. We used an Ohio company that services the equipment for us. And our dock manager keeps an eye on the system to ensure that it’s functioning properly.
So a few things that we learned with this program, you know, it’s a great way to achieve LEED points. The toters are good but they might not be the best. They do lock, but and have rubber seals, but the locks do rust over time. But the toters do allow us to store up to 20 toters, sometimes more at a time to reduce the number of hauling visits. And we have a collection about every one-and-a-half weeks.
Our Zero Waste (inaudible) is available upon request to anyone on campus. This really came out of our Buckeye bash. These containers were designed to replicate our experience with Buckeye Bash. The service allows anyone on campus to request the containers, and they’re delivered to support their event. There is a fee associated with the program, and interested parties must agree to the (inaudible) outlined.
One event we held with over 100 people we had one candy wrapper in the trash can. We were pretty excited about that. And after each event facilities operations and development crew members pick-up the containers and put the materials in the appropriate material stream.
And since starting the program in April 2010 we’ve had eight events with over 6,000 people. We’ve achieved an average 96% diversion rate, and we’ve had events all over campus, and we particularly appreciate that (inaudible) several times.
The program can be a bit of a challenge logistically just due to our staff levels and that there is, you know, because it’s such a new thing not a lot of people fully understand how Zero Waste prevention operate. The service complements our efforts in the Ohio (inaudible) and the facilities I’m about to mention because when we have events in the facilities that already have organic collection it makes the (inaudible) events that much easier.
So we have started a few organic pilots in a few facilities on campus. We’re primarily focused on pre-consumer materials. Our four star hotel, the Blackwell Inn, the Fawcett Center, which is a conference center, and Faculty Club are all participating in the program. At the Blackwell we installed an [incinterator] unit and a 1,600 gallon storage tank. The kitchen collects materials in 10-gallon Rubbermaid tubs with lids, and they take them down to the loading dock where materials are dumped onto the table and the unit grinds the food, using very little water, and stores it in the tank. The tank is emptied about once a week.
We’re very excited about this program. We’ve significantly reduced the number of collections. We’re visiting the facility about 22 times a week to collect trash for recycling. We’ve reduced that to about six times a week, and another great thing about the program is that it’s only $120 per haul fee, that’s collecting organic. Like I say, we’re already doing that once a week. We’re averaging about 4.5 tons a week of organics, and it’s taken to a digestor that turns the product into electricity, natural gas, and fertilizer. We’re estimating based on our collections that we have about an 80%, 85% diversion.
This program, the Blackwell is a buffet style hotel, so it sees a little bit more materials discarded than other facilities, but the program has been very beneficial. We’ve reduced our hauling costs, We’ve reduced issues related to rodents, flies and odor. The system does add about two hours of labor per day, but we’ve been able to accommodate that internally. And part of that is the loading dock is so far from the kitchen so it adds a little bit of time to haul the materials down there. It’s a little messy now but it’s (inaudible) working with us to reduce that issue and it’s pretty much handled. And the Blackwell is also saving over $200 a month in trash lineres.
The other facilities participating in the program do not grind their food, at all. They’ve collected it in slim jims, and they’re emptied into 60-gallon toters. We’ve partnered with a local organic hauler to take the material to a local farm for composting. We (inaudible) facilities, it’s all – all the equipment that we used is cleaned in the dishwasher. So far we’ve taken over 20 tons of materials to the compost facility from the facilities that are not grinding their food, and over 34 tons to the digestor.
The toter programs are either time and labor intensive. We’re investigating if working with outside haulers is more efficient and effective. By working with the outside vendor we’re actually helping to provide an economy of scales for collection at local restaurants and large business. So we’re really excited about the opportunity to support the local community.
The Zero Waste and Ohio State program was initiated with an internal grant from the President’s Provost Council on Sustainability. The grant helped get the program off the ground. Our stadium is the fourth largest stadium in the country and seats over 105,000 people. Prior to the Zero Waste program the stadium achieved an average diversion rate of about 50%, sorting materials from the (inaudible) through the stream. In order to achieve our goals we worked with our food vendors (inaudible) recyclable and compostable products. We changed our plastic out to (inaudible) fiber product, and we eliminated paper cups with plastic straws, among other things.
We installed new signage to make the program prominent across the stadium and condensed our locations of containers to 75, and we hired high school students to educate the fans when they approach the Zero Waste stations.
We then changed the way that we did our collections and created two material streams, eliminating the trash stream. If there was any trash we asked that people put it into recycling for storing. During cleanup materials would be placed into the two streams, and virtually some of the compost was considered dirty so we kept it separate and we would include it in with the recycling to resort it.
Over the course of the season we worked to reduce the volume of dirty compost, and a lot of the dirty compost came out of our club and our suite areas and press box where it’s difficult to manage the behaviors. As you can see, fans did catch on, and (inaudible) also actually improved the cleanliness of our concourse.
We average about 1.6 tons of compost per game and donate about a half a ton of food per game. And you can see in the picture our materials at the compost facility. We average about 8.3 tons per game of recycling, but as you can see from the photo if you look closely you can see it’s very plastic heavy and actually looks pretty clean as recycling goes.
With recycle (inaudible) came to visit our stadium and during out – when we played Colorado, and they spent the whole day with me. They did an editorial on our program. We appreciate that cartoon, because I think it really speaks to the commitment the University has made to the Zero Waste program.
Also, taking a look at our numbers, we had our highest food diversion for the season was 2.5 tons. Our lowest trash generated at a game was 2.1 tons, last season we were around 7 to 8 tons. We averaged 2.3 tons of trash per game, and our average diversion was 75.2%. We had 75 high school students helping us educate the fans, and over 1,200 concession people give us a hand with the project.
Some of the things that we learned from this program is that it is really important to listen to everyone involved and make sure that we’re able to address as many of the issues that people have as possible. And it’s really important to coordinate with our partners. We have excellent support from all of our partners involved (inaudible) and they really helped us make it happen. And it certainly helped to have leadership support from the President’s Office to get the program started. And I would also really encourage people to keep it simple, I know Zero Waste effort might not be simple, but we try to make it as simple as possible and kept our message on point and simple, as well.
And, just in conclusion, I just want to emphasize to identify your partners as soon as possible and develop those partnerships from the beginning. Start small, start with a pilot program, see what you can do with what resources you do have. And just remember that it is a lot of work. And, with that, I just want to thank everybody for listening, and if there’s any questions I’d be happy to answer them and happy to follow-up in the future, as well. Thank you.
Laura Moreno: Thanks, Corey. That was really fantastic. I’m going to give you one burning question, and then the rest that came in we’re going to do after the third speaker.
So the burning question is just to clarify, so for your slim jims and toters you don’t use liners and you clean them in the dishwasher? And then, also, why did you decide not to use liners?
Corey Hawkey: We – the only place that we use liners now is in our toters that are at the loading dock in the facilities that do not grind their food. We do not use the liners because we haven’t been able to find strong enough liners and cheap enough liners to make our programs viable.
If you’re able to work around the liners you can spend your money on the infrastructure and collection rather than bags that are just going to be a part of the material stream. So we’ve purchased containers that can fit into our dishwashers and they can be rinsed out easily by hand, and it seems to be the easiest, cheapest, and most convenient way currently to manage the organic collection.
Laura Moreno: Great. Thank you so much.
Rob Gogan's Presentation
So, with that, we’re going to go to our third and final speaker, Rob Gogan. Rob oversees waste reduction, reuse, recycling, composting and disposal for most of Harvard University. Rob serves on the Steering Committees for the College and University Recycling Council, RecycleMania, and the Institution Recycling Network. He has overseen growth in Harvard’s recycling rate from 5% in 1989 to 55% in 2011, and a reduction in per capita trash generation by 50% during the same period. And, with that, I will send it over to Rob.
Rob Gogan: Thank you, Laura. I know I have to close, show my screen, there we go. I’ll move this out of the way. Well, thanks very much to Laura and the EPA for hosting this webinar.
I think reducing food waste is the single most important act that any of us can make on our campus. It’s really the most popular material to get out of the waste stream. Even people who may disagree with recycling or composting for environmental or climate change reasons can fully support the idea of not wasting food so that you can serve it to people who will eat it. And to respect the lives and the fruits of the lives of the animals that have given themselves for our nutrition.
So here at Harvard we’ve been composting for about 15 years. We started, frankly, with laboratory animal bedding because that was a large easy-to-separate fraction of the waste stream. Starting in about 1997 we started recovering food for – food scraps for composting, and to speak to Kaye’s point about generating an economy of scale and Corey mentioned it too, because we were sending four or five tons a day of well separated organic material out to the curb, we were able to convince several other universities, and there are many in the Boston area, to divert their organics. And we gave enough business to a small waste hauling company so that they could convert their entire operation to organics collection and composting. And since then another large collector got into organics collection, and now we have the one that we started with now has five trucks, all devoted to collecting organics for composting.
So I’m trying to figure out – okay. One of the most important things that you can do to measure your progress, and we do also have a goal of Zero Waste by 2020, we believe not only in measuring what we cover with composting or recycling or reusing, but in going through our waste to determine what are some of the missed opportunities for reducing food waste and recovering it for composting. The usual staffer for these waste audits is our eco reps. These are from Harvard Business School. They are picking out the recyclables and weighing them, and the organics for composting and the reuseables. This also gives you a chance to measure your progress, to chart it from year to year.
This past fall from the Harvard dorm waste audits we found that 41% by weight was recyclable material – papers, bottles, boxes and cans that could have been recycled. And whereas 15 years ago it used to be lots of newspapers, now it’s mostly food service related paper materials, much of which is compostable and some of which is recyclable nowadays. Which actually it’s a point of a lot of confusion on our campus, is it better to compost and recycle an eco-container cup? I generally tell people to recycle when you can, compost when you can. If there’s any food involved compost it.
Compostables comprise 38% of the organics and liquids. The single biggest fraction of the compostable stream was paper towels. Would love to reduce paper towels and even eliminate them. We’ve taken some measures around campus with Dyson air blade hand dryers, but noise and sanitary and speed concerns also require us to have paper towels in every restroom, unfortunately.
But 20% of the total weight of the trash coming out of Harvard dorm rooms was food scraps, that’s more than half the compostables total. The students just waste an awful lot of food. They’re not very good at planning what they’re going to eat, not very good at stocking their refrigerator. They all have mini fridges in their suites. There’s a lot of half eaten taco sauce that gets cleaned out, usually not before vacations but usually after vacations when they come back, or when they find their roommate’s half-eaten Chinese dinner that they didn’t eat up or discard before they left.
We do have a couple of dorms that have been experimenting with room bins and having systems where volunteers take the food scraps down to the dining hall for composting, but they’re not that reliable and we haven’t really felt comfortable in expanding them campus-wide due to pest and vermin concerns. About 4% of the trash was reusable, it’s mostly clothing and office supplies. We always find at least one working stapler in every waste audit it seems. Maybe it’s jammed or something and so someone just threw it away.
And then 18% of the trash, this is a growing fraction, by the way, of our waste stream in our audit, is residues for which there is no good recycling or composting option right now. Mostly plastics, composite plastic, Mylar items, food wrappers, cookie wrappers, sanitary paper products, sanitary napkins, et cetera. So there’s always going to be some “real trash” in our waste stream.
Our food waste audits in the dining halls, this is when we just look at the food that’s going out in plate scrapings, in back of the house waste, and the per plate average food waste, when we started our food waste audits in spring of 2005 were about five ounces per meal. And we were able to reduce that below two ounces per meal in last February’s food waste audit. And the Dining Services, by the way, is fully supportive of this. It saves them money, it respects their craftsmanship, and cuts their loading dock space devoted to trash or composting.
So what are the keys to waste prevention in back of the house, in food waste prevention? Well, the most important thing is to order the correct amount of the food your students will actually eat. We had one of several food riots we’ve had over the years at Harvard and, in fact, we have food rebellions that have been historically recorded back to the 18th Century. The Dining Services thought they would be smart and change the brands of cereal that they served, and college students I think they determined that half the students eat some cereal at every meal. So it’s an extremely popular part of what they serve. And when they went to change the name brands with some of the cheaper varieties, sorry about that, they tried the discount varieties for the name brands – absolutely, no way would that pass the pallet of our discriminating students. So they had to serve the more expensive kind, but in the end they wasted less food.
Research what the students’ favorite recipes are. Look in the dumpster, look in the trash bin, look in the dish room after the meal to see what dishes didn’t go over very well. One of the things Harvard Dining Services did that’s been extremely popular in the last few years is to get students’ favorite recipes from home. And they’ll get their grandmother’s chicken pot pie recipe, and they’ll actually publish on the menu cards this is Julie Smith’s grandmother’s chicken pot pie. And so if students don’t like it, they don’t want to say so or it’ll hurt Julie’s feelings.
And what else? Well, the staff is, of course, a huge part of reducing waste in the back of the house. There are two of the big catering vendors on our campus that use [trim tracks]. This is a computer program that weighs, records, and identifies which of the food prep staff is most efficient at preparing the salads, and who can take a head of lettuce and waste the least of it while getting good, servable food out of each product. So they love it. Restaurant Associates uses it. [Clean Plate] uses it. I’m sure there are other – [Chart Well] uses it. There are many food service vendors that do use it.
One of the things that the Dining Services’ management loves, but the labor, the staff did not like so much, was buying pre-peeled and pre-chopped vegetables and fruits to help minimize prep waste and reduce transport carbon footprint. This meant that they would buy peeled, chopped carrots ready to serve. It greatly reduced the labor needs because they didn’t need to peel the carrots, chop up and cut the carrots, they could just open the package, dump them on the serving trays, and discard the plastic wrap. But this one practice became a labor relations concern that was listed explicitly when the last union contract came up as something that was unfair to labor because it was reducing Harvard staffing needs. So this was an instance where sustainability kind of was working at cross purposes with labor relations. But, fortunately, the contract was ratified and they found a good compromise and moved on.
How has the house waste prevention – we work very closely with our eco reps, we have two types of eco reps, we have the ones that live in the dorms and we have the ones that report to the kitchens. There are food literacy program reps who talk about everything from sound nutrition to menu planning, to how to prepare your own food in your dorm when you’re making your midnight snack. And one of the things they also talk about is not wasting food.
We have self-service, individual portion control in all of our kitchens. We have during the food waste audit weeks we have the reps standing at the dish rooms. Some years we’ve actually given out stickers that say clean plate club, and when somebody comes up to the dish room with a plate, with a tray that has no edible food, they ask them if they’d like to have a sticker that says clean plate club? And they actually wear it and it generates a lot of conversation among Harvard students. They’ve heard of the hasty pudding club, and Harvard outdoors club, what the heck is the clean plate club? How do I get to be on the clean plate club? Because you have to be invited into every club by an upper classman.
We also gave out Nestles candies or Hershey candies, they are wrapped kisses and hugs, if people left no edible food. We would also not do personal shaming but collective shaming. We would accumulate 30 minutes of plate scrapings of edible food that Harvard students did not choose to eat and display it in a big transparent tub just before the serving line with the permission of the Dining Service manager. The yuck factor is a powerful motivator, and the freshmen estimated that 18 people could have been served on a half an hour’s wasted food that was left on the plates.
Going trayless is a popular option. We’ve done it. We have trayless Tuesdays in some of our venues, but we ran into some problems when we tried to do it all venues all the time from two audiences. One was athletes who complained and their coaches complained to Dining Services that their athletes would not be able to get enough nourishment to compensate for the calories they burn in practice with the 20 minutes or 30 minutes they have in their school day to eat lunch. The other group of people, and this was very controversial, people with eating disorders would call their mothers and say Harvard doesn’t want me to eat. So that’s another reason why I’m not eating much. And that’s not true, and we absolutely never said don’t eat food, we just said don’t take more than you can eat. Take the right amount of food.
Special events, one of my favorite quotes is from the Bible, John 6-12, when after the miracle of the loaves and the fishes, Jesus said to his apostles, go out into the fields and pick-up the food that’s left behind lest none be wasted. So wasting food is a sin in every religion. But, again, it’s very important to plan and serve the right amount of food and the correct amount.
Another very important and easy technique to reduce food waste is to serve meals in reusable bags so that people will have a souvenir to take home and take away the food that they don’t choose to eat at the time and eat it later. It also makes it easier to donate servable food as long as you can meet, of course, very strict time and temperature guidelines for food safety. You don’t want to send your food to a soup kitchen and have people getting sick because you left the lunches out in the sun too long. And we’ve used several local nonprofits that will pick-up the food, and Good Samaritan Lodge will protect the liability in most states.
The quality of the compost, of course, is very important, and this is where it’s very important to plan the menu, plan the service ware, very well. I would say we are moving very strongly towards an all compost kind of service catalog. We have more and more of our kitchens, all but three of them now, do compost. And especially in public events, that’s the way we’re going.
This is one of our public events this fall, it was actually our Game Day Challenge Day, freshmen parents had a lunch and we did have staffing there, some of the rep captains showed the Harvard parents how to sort their food scraps and their recyclables. And we did get a record highest rate. We have a long way to go to match Corey’s rate of 85% or whatever he said, but 71% diversion rate was a new record for us.
It’s very helpful to actually take physical compostable service ware to the compost bucket, and people are very important. Gloves are very helpful, it makes your volunteers much braver in cleaning the non-compostables off of the plates. We like the clear stream receptacles, they’re very portable and intuitive with clear sides, and pretty robust bags, too, although not for pure food scraps.
Our landscape services has become very active in the last five years. We do now compost all of the yard waste generated on campus, on our campus for replenishment of campus soils, and as part of the recipe for composting and composts we do incorporate some coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable peelings from selected kitchens in small amounts, and they do compost as one of the components of their composting.
Working with compost farmers and compost vendors, I’m sorry, get rid of that guy – this is one of the sites where some of our food scraps go. [Peter Brittany] had a farm about 20 miles outside of Boston, and this is a great place to take students, by the way, these are students from Harvard Law School and Harvard College who have come out to the farm to see the place where Harvard composted its food scraps and compostables.
The compostable flatware, knives, forks, spoons, really doesn’t make it yet. Fortunately, we haven’t been rejected by Peter or anyone else, but that’s only because he screens it out at the end of the process and the organic farmers donates residue who don’t mind uncomposted forks and spoons and so on.
Our goal is to get as much of this stuff recovered on campus as possible, and I think the next slide – yes, this is some of our back of the house, the watering equipment. We have a [Somax] system in five of our kitchens, which grinds, it de-waters with centrifuge, it comes out the consistency of cooked rice. And this is a two yarder that’s at the back of one of our bigger food generators, and this is what it looks like, actually it’s mostly animal bedding you see dumped out, which is a great absorbent to get those summertime soups, sauces, and salads that degrade into swill in a short time.
This is a new unit that we’re very excited about. We’re installing at Harvard Law School next month. This is a predigestor, [Auburn 360], which will use a microbial action, will reduce the volume by at least 80% and predigest it to a product that is not quite ready for application directly onto the soil, the PH is still a little too low, but it’s 90% done and it would require just a month or so of composting. We’re hoping that we’ll be able to fund our Harvard community gardens, we have three of them on campus, will be able to use it for horticultural purposes, maybe not agriculture yet because in our part of the country we do have low PH soil.
So that’s my show, and I’m happy to participate in questions, and glad to be a part of this show and look forward to your questions.
Laura Moreno: Great. Thanks, Rob. Yes, we have a lot of questions, and a lot of them I saved because I figured they would be able to be answered by, definitely by all of our speakers. So I will just launch into it.
And the first question is about student involvement, and there’s a couple of components to the question. But, basically, for each of you I’m going to ask how much students were involved in these programs? And then how you dealt with the high student turnover and the fact that they’re gone during school breaks, such as summer? So, Rob, could you answer that, first?
Rob Gogan: Yes, well, we started in the back of the house with animal bedding and prep waste, so students really played a small role until 2005 or so when we started an aggressive program to reduce food waste and did more front of the house composting. So we do pay students. We have paid resource efficiency program, eco reps, in the college, in Harvard Law School, Harvard Business School, and we have a summer school rep, as well. These people are crucial in promoting food waste reduction awareness.
Laura Moreno: Great. Corey, do you want to address that, as well?
Corey Hawkey: We have little student involvement right now because, like Rob said, too, a lot of our stuff is behind the scenes. There are students with the Blackwell Inn that are part of the program and move the materials and utilize the equipment there. And we have student volunteers help us with the Zero Waste program, and we have students come up to the farm to remove contamination from the compost there. We also have encouraged the students to look into composting and organic collection (inaudible) and several students have proposed project ideas. And we’re currently working with the student forum to develop a proposal for a small classroom based demonstration, student led project, the student forum to collect organics and create compost. So we definitely have a lot of student efforts underway and, but nothing is solely reliant on the students.
Laura Moreno: Great. And, Kaye, do you – would you like to answer, as well?
Kaye Johnston: Yes, one of the thing that we try to do on campus with all of our sustainability initiatives and it includes students through the process, we work with several professors on campus. For an example, [Dr. Siata Son], we have his three-thirty-five waste management class, and we have anywhere from 30 to 40, sometimes 50 students involved in doing waste characterization studies and waste data on campus. And so we actually have those students help out with our food services in our dining location to do some of that work, and that’s by semester. They then prepare a report and we’ve put together what their recommendations would be to improve that program.
In addition to that, we also have some student organizations (inaudible) also our student leadership, through SGA, our Student Government Association, our UMKC Garden Collective, and then our [Greek Org]. And what’s so really great about it is that in any given – and plus we have interns in the sustainability office and work studies, and so I would say that in any given semester we have up to 60 folks working on these initiatives.
I will say this, you’re right about it, it is difficult because you have new students incoming constantly. And what I recommend is that to the student organizations is that they do some shadowing with younger students when the leadership of those organizations know that they’re going to be moving on or graduating, that they actually try to do some shadowing where the younger classmen accompany them to look and to come take over the different organization functions.
So we do work heavily with students. I would say this, it is not totally dependent on students because of how students do move through the process getting their education. And we do have campus facilities management. We have Dining Services, and also our student services, very heavily involved. And we also make sure that there are student workers, there’s some work studies that are involved in those processes, but we – it’s really a joint effort of a number of faculty, staff, and students on campus.
Laura Moreno: Great. Thank you so much. I know students are, you know, since they are really the consumers really at universities they’re your, you know, who the university is there for. I think it’s great that you guys are all having students participate in some way or other.
The next question is going to be specifically around compostable utensils and service ware and different products in your composting stream, your organic stream. There are a lot of questions about whether you’re having issues with contamination, and then for your composting facilities if all of them were expecting compostable plastics or if you are having to switch to other products? How about we start with Rob, again?
Rob Gogan: Well, we require that the caterers and Dining Services use biodegradable products, institute certified service ware. That doesn’t always mean that Peter and the other composters can actually break it down, but it is a standard that we hold to, and we haven’t been rejected when that is the service ware that people use.
We really like it if people can bring their own – one of the swag items we’ve been giving away is a RecycleMania’s fork and encouraging people to carry that instead of taking a plastic spoon, knife and fork, and you can go to the RecycleMania website and look up the [Weisenbach] service ware and see this fork that we use there.
So, of course, carrying your own mugs and water bottles, very, very important. Much, much better than any compostable. So it’s definitely a work in progress in the industry. They definitely don’t break down, but on the other hand they do hold together during the period of use. And it has to do all of those things.
Laura Moreno: Great. Corey, did you want to respond?
Corey Hawkey: Well, I would just echo the majority of what Rob said, and I would just add that some materials we weren’t able to put in with our pulper and, or the incinterator units, and have those go to the digestor, but not all products are necessarily appropriate for that and the digestor isn’t overly excited about too much of those materials but it is an option. And our local farmer has, you know, he’s not overly excited about compostable products, but he’s willing to work towards handling them because he recognizes that the industry and the programming is going that way and he wants to be able to be there for other facilities. So, like I said, I just echo a lot of what Rob said.
Laura Moreno: Kaye, do you have anything to add?
Kaye Johnston: Well, one thing that I do know and I realize is that utensils that are made out of biodegradable materials, as Rob had said and Corey both, they have to be sturdy enough to use where they’re not going to fall apart or break. However, that means that they’re going to take a little bit longer to compost. If you were to put them in your backyard composter they would take months to degrade and actually become part of that compost. I have personal experience with that, when I worked for a local not-for-profit and I used to be the person that composted everything so (inaudible).
But I will say this, in Kansas City we are very, very fortunate. Our mid-America Regional Council, Solid Waste District, they have been very instrumental in funding pilot projects and start some of these businesses, like Missouri Organic Recycling, and in that they have not just (inaudible) where they do recycling but they actually have the type of recycling that gets hot and actually does bio grades those kinds of components, so we don’t have an issue with that.
Laura Moreno: Great. So the next question I want to ask you guys is moving a little bit higher up the food recovery hierarchy towards source reduction and food donation. I know Rob did address this in his presentation, but I would like to hear from the other speakers if you guys have focused on waste prevention and food donation, at all, other than your composting program? Kaye, could you start us off?
Kaye Johnston: Sure. One of the things that we’ve done is the proprietary buying. I know that talking with our chef here at DEXO, Dining Room Services, that they really, really try to watch how much they buy, look at what students – they’re all the time trying, we have certain student stations where students they have a special evening and they really try to hone-in, like Rob had talked about at Harvard, they try to hone-in on what the students are wanting to eat. So they do some of that for reduction.
They also have gone trayless and, thank goodness, we haven’t had some of the issues that Rob talked about with athletics. Of course, we don’t tell people that they can’t take as much as they want, but we do have a trayless system and that’s cut down on water, as well as other people taking too much food.
But then the other part to reducing that, as far as taking it out to the food banks and that sort of thing, I don’t believe that there’s been that sort of an initiative but I don’t know that we have that much waste, wasted food to begin with. I can tell you this, that our UMKC Garden Collective students, when they have had extra food, one of the parts of their mission is to make sure that people in the community that normally don’t get fruits and vegetables get some of that excess, and they’ve taken it to some of the local food banks. So on a larger scale, no, we haven’t done that piece. However, there has been some thought into that when it comes to some of our student initiatives.
Laura Moreno: Great. Corey, did you want to address that?
Corey Hawkey: I would like to add, Kaye talked about a lot of things that I had mentioned. We do donate some of our leftover food. A lot of our facilities are smaller eateries that only make enough that they are expecting to sell, and sometimes run out before the end of the day. And we have gone trayless in some of our facilities and bagless, we don’t have any disposable bags either. So, yes.
Laura Moreno: Okay. And then, Rob, did you have anything to add or I know you addressed in your presentation?
Rob Gogan: Well, nothing more than what Corey and Kaye have said and within the presentation.
Laura Moreno: Great. Okay, so the next question is more on funding, and so some people wanted to know how you’re currently funding these programs, especially the large, more sophisticated equipment that you might be using? Was it through grants or the University or other funding mechanisms. Rob, can we start with you?
Rob Gogan: Well, we haven’t funded through any grants. Basically, we’ve funded every expense or every investment we’ve made in recycling and composting out of disposal costs. Because our Department also handles trash it didn’t have a budgetary impact on us, it just reallocated the way we were spending the money we were charging the buildings.
My Department runs on a fee-for-service basis, and at the beginning of every year we make a prediction based on bag counts of how much we’ll charge each building for the service we give them, whether it’s bulk recycling, single stream recycling, composting or trash. And we include in that all of our overhead which includes equipment. We’ve done the same thing, actually we have gotten some green campus grants, sustainability grants from our own campus program for (inaudible) which reduce the pollution caused by grounds workers driving pickup trucks to litter barrels around campus, but not with respect to composting and food prep equipment.
Laura Moreno: Okay. Corey, what about you?
Corey Hawkey: Very similar to Rob, as well. Although our (inaudible) sustainability (inaudible) has provided some of our (inaudible) that we’ve allocated from other programs, to kind of get programs off the ground. But we have been able to pay for programs by avoided disposal costs. Also, there are some grants that we have from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and they’ve been supportive. There’s been grants from the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio that have helped us with programs. And getting internal grants from the President’s Provost Council of Sustainability has been helpful. That being said, we also are able to fund things by using our scrap metal rebates to pay for programs and things like that. So it’s just been, just trying to be as creative as we can.
Laura Moreno: Okay-doke. What about Kaye, what about UMKC?
Kaye Johnston: Laura, it’s kind of the same as what Rob and Corey talked about. We’ve got a multipronged approach. And we have got really great partners that helped us with grant opportunities. The Mid-America Regional Council Solid Waste District has been very essential. I heard Rob talk about the [Big Val eight] recyclers, some of those types of things, some of our initial pilot programs, containers, compactors, and that sort of thing.
In addition to that, our partnership with DEXO, you know, they’ve been really instrumental at coming, you know, really doing a great job of coming up to the plate when we really do need to make some decisions and some changes.
And then Campus Facilities Management has also made a huge commitment with time, labor, containers, staffing in order to really make all these programs work. So I would say that it’s a very multipronged approach. It takes resources and partnerships all the time, and it’s not just one entity doing it, it’s all of us in our community really and on campus making that difference.
Laura Moreno: Great. So I’m going to ask one last question for you all. So one of the questions that several people have asked is whether you have looked at onsite composting for your campus to at least take a portion of your organic waste? Kaye, can we start with you?
Kaye Johnston: That’s a really great question. What I can tell you is that we have very, very small, just in our garden area, the students, the young KC Garden Collective, has a very, very small composting for their garden, specifically, and everything stays there and then goes into, back into the garden.
But as far as the major composting, we’re an urban campus. We have 15,000 students on campus and the way that our campus is set-up about every inch of space has really been utilized, so there’s buildings. And so for us to set-up really a huge composting operation would require us to get permitting from Missouri Department of Natural Resources and several other things like that.
So we just want to continue to support the community and support Missouri Organic Recycling. They’re doing really a great job, they’re a great service, because UMKC is part of – they also do restaurants and they also do other business recycling, so we’re just part of that larger community effort, and we feel really great about that.
Laura Moreno: Great. Rob, do you have anything to share on the onsite composting issue?
Rob Gogan: Yes, we’ve had some – well, we’ve had a very good experience with composting yard waste, autumn leaves, grass clippings, woodchips, mulch. If we have to take a tree down we chip-up the tree and the branches and mulch and compost that. And that’s worked very well at our arboretum, which is eight miles from the main campus but it is on Harvard property.
We did have a student residence that tried to compost food scraps onsite. They had a garden, and they were very excited about it, but it caused great displeasure in the neighborhood when the next spring rolled around and the student who was the sparkplug for the whole thing had moved on and it had gone anaerobic and it was just a putrid mess. So that gave our compost program a very bad name in some neighborhoods.
But we are actually very excited, though, about the prospects for predigestors, [in-vessel] composting perhaps, in-vessel digestion, and this is a very exciting area. We have five (inaudible) in Massachusetts now that are digesting food waste, as well as animal bedding on their site, a digestion tank of a million gallons or so. And we think this is going to be – this business is going to have a bright future and, hopefully, a good future close to our campus and maybe even on our campus.
Laura Moreno: Great. Corey, do you have anything to add?
Corey Hawkey: Yes, we’re also, you know, we’re kind of – we’re very similar to UMKC and we have a farm here, a student farm, but it still is an urban environment and very close to many neighbors. So it’s a little difficult for us based on our size to be investing in such a large organics composting operation. Especially when we have so many opportunities with our community, with local farmers and the biodigestor in town and the local companies that are in the business of organic hauling. It just makes more sense for Ohio State to work with our partners and these are economy of scale to increase composting, not just at Ohio State but at Columbus and Community College, (inaudible) research or with restaurants along the campus area.
So we’re definitely looking at doing a smaller scale student run project (inaudible) someplace, but I think we’re definitely going to continue to work with our partners. At our Wooster Campus we have a digestor there that powers a percentage of the campus. And we have researchers there and students researching there. And it’s just an up and coming industry that Ohio State plans to support.
Laura Moreno: Great. Well, I want to just start closing out. And I wish to thank Kaye, Corey, and Rob for taking time from their schedules to share ideas and information about food recovery and sustainable materials management with all of us.
Most of all, we want to thank everybody who dialed in this month to the SMM Web Academy. It is you that this program is designed for, so please make sure to complete our survey and give us feedback on how we can meet your needs.
Again, I want to encourage everybody to visit the Food Recovery Challenge website to learn more or potentially join at epa.gov/foodrecoverychallenge. If you consider this program valuable your feedback is critical now to help us sustain this program. We hope to serve you in the near future as funding becomes available. Again, thanks for participating, and this concludes today’s program. Have a great day.