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Monday, February 8, 2010

Compost program gives new life to food scraps at UW-L

From an article by KJ Lang in the La Crosse Tribune:

People don’t often think of food as recyclable, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse student Jessica Kotnour noted.

“It’s really easy to recycle the nutrients in our foods, but oftentimes food waste just gets discarded,” she said.

Food waste makes up about 10 percent of material in landfills in Wisconsin, according to a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources-commissioned study in 2002.

But UW-L students no longer contribute to that waste. Student this semester now dump fruit and vegetable scraps into compost buckets to later be used for landscaping on university grounds.

Students started the program in the university’s dining hall with a $3,000 grant from the UW System’s Solid Waste Research Program, which is funded by a state tipping fee on landfilled waste. These grants funded nine other student solid waste research projects in 2009-10, including another at UW-L to cut down plastic water bottle usage, said Eileen Norby, UW System Solid Waste Research Program manager. . . .

UW-L started a program about a year ago to have cooks compost scraps from food preparation. Combined with the food waste collected after meals, UW-L generates nearly 1,000 pounds of food waste a week for composting.

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