On a rainy, cold and windy Tuesday in Fort Collins last month, Maggie Gilman and Albert Cones braved the elements to compost food waste on Colorado State University’s Foothills campus.
The composting system nicknamed Oscar — because he can be a grouch, and sometimes breaks down — was grinding up food waste while Gilman, a sophomore in the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, looked at more than 300 pounds of food waste she’d just dumped into the machine.
“There’s some chicken, noodles, salad, and rice,” she said, describing the colorful food waste from residence hall dining centers.
Cones, a technician with Facilities Management, had just constructed CSU’s first windrow, a long row of almost 1,500 pounds of pulped food waste, hay and horse manure. He could not contain his excitement in describing the new composting process.
“We are giving back to the land,” Cones said. “That’s what we’re excited about, on a large scale, to get food waste on campus out here and to recycle it.”
Process saves money, helps the environment
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that up to 40 percent of the food supply in the country ends up as waste. In landfills, food waste also generates methane, a greenhouse gas, so diverting that waste to compost is good for the environment.