Hartwick College, NY Composting Initiative

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Hartwick College, NY, US

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Type: Program

Status: Launched in 2006

Source File: http://www.hartwick.edu/x431.xml


Waste Not Want Not!
Composting is a process that turns various types of organic material (leaf waste, pre-consumer food waste, grass clippings) into humus. Hartwick currently is beginning a small-scale composting waste operation to integrate pre-consumer food waste into the College's current landscaping waste-management plan. Fall 2006 saw completion of the site where compost will be processed. In Spring of 2007, the College will begin operations.

This material will help maintain the fertility and water holding capacity of garden beds, reduce the cost of buying an off-campus product, and reduce the volume of waste going to regional landfills.

With support from campus facilities staff and student-led clubs, staff and students will work together to help produce a College compost product for flower beds and organic gardens. Facilities will help manage the operation's site, students will help deliver materials from the dining hall to the composting site, and students and staff will help monitor the quality of the compost.

Hartwick has begun working with the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation to help develop outreach information for other colleges looking to develop a similar program, and will be participating in a new state initiative to work with other colleges on similar ventures.

Because of Hartwick's small size, such an endeavor is fairly straightforward to implement and low-cost. The project also will provide hands-on educational opportunities for Hartwick students and the community. Hartwick will be working with the Oneonta school district to educate school children about compost, its benefits, and how it can enhance soil by adding organic matter and nutrients. Compost helps build soil!

At the present time, large-scale recycling of biomass takes place at the Strawberry Fields location above main campus. As seen in the photo to the right, hazard tress, removed from roads and walkways, are later used in landscaping projects around campus and for small-scale building projects. Leaf waste and left-over landscaping wood chips are used in a variety of grounds projects.