University of California-Santa Cruz Slug Compost Program

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Type: Program

Status: Initiated in 2008

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Initiated in July, this program is the result of a large scale effort by dining, campus recycling/waste management, and the Student Environmental Center. Currently Crown/Merrill and College Nine/Ten dining locations operating during the summer are contributing kitchen cuttings from fruit and vegetables and College Eight/Oakes are including post consumer food scraps in their collection bins. College Eight/Oakes dining hall has a food pulper which can mulch down and extract moisture from all foods. Additional food pulpers are planned for installation at other dining halls in the near future.

Not to be left out, on a smaller scale, Terra Fresca has been collecting scraps and sending them to our PICA facility to help grow more food for our students!

Staff training was conducted in July, signs were posted in the kitchens to remind cooks to collect scraps and the program was off and running. Dining is also using a special BIObag liner in all collection bins to minimize contamination and control pests. Filled BIObags are then placed in specially marked SLUG COMPOST CONTAINERS located on each loading dock. Campus recycling transports compost to the Buena Vista Landfill in Watsonville where Vision Recycling operates a compost facility. BIO Cycle article on Vision Recycling (PDF).

The university has been charged with achieving an overall 50% waste diversion by 2008 and increasing that rate to 75% by 2012 and zero waste by 2020. Composting on a large scale with the dining department can contribute to reaching these goals. Last year's campus-wide event, OPERS Fall Festival 2007 was a big success. This year, OPERS Fall Festival on September 23, 2008 is again being designed as a Zero Waste Event. Clubs and organizations are encouraged to reduce waste, control recyclables and dining will be composting all pre and post consumer food scraps. Using compostable plates, utensils and napkins is just yet another strategy to minimize our impact on our surrounding landfills.