University of Iowa Food Waste Composting Pilot Program

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Type: Program

Status: Launched in 2007

Source File:


In January 2007, UI Facilities Management Landscape Services, Food Services in University Housing, and the Iowa City Wastewater Division of the Public Works Department agreed to a pilot project proposed by four students from a Civil and Environmental Engineering Sustainable Systems class. The pilot project was to determine the feasibility of a composting project for food waste from the Hillcrest Market food service.

The first load of food waste compost, was delivered from the Landfill to The University of Iowa on October 18, 2007. In only two semesters, the UI, the City of Iowa City and UI students worked together to turn 17 tons of UI food waste into 45 cubic yards of high nitrogen compost to be used for different projects around campus by UI Facilities Management groundskeepers, including in flower beds. This project allowed for food waste to be recycled into compost -- saving water, energy, and creating a saleable product.

On Wednesday, September 19 the Iowa Society of Solid Waste Operations Board of Directors voted unanimously to give this year's Innovative Waste Management Project Award to Holly Moriarty for her efforts to pilot the Hillcrest dormitory/Iowa City landfill composting project. The award was presented to Holly on October 9th in Coralville at this year's State Recycling Conference.

The collaboration between The University of Iowa, including Facilities Management, University Housing and Landscape Services and the City of Iowa City, along with the student team, led by Holly Moriarty, made this pilot project possible.