University Dining Services is actively collecting compostable wastes from food preparation areas, food service areas (including dining, catering, Cool Beans, and East Coasterz) and Waste Management transports them to Blue Hen Organics which operates a commercial composting facility in Dagsboro, Delaware. The compostable material includes food, napkins, waxed cardboard, food-contaminated cardboard, paper cups, coffee filters, etc. Blue Hen Organics turns these waste materials into compost which is a nutrient-rich soil amendment and is used on campus landscaping. This project is supervised by Rebecca Rosing-Johnson, Manager of Horticulture and Grounds and is the result of a successful collaboration of University Dining Services with Horticulture and Grounds.
In January of 2011, University Dining replaced an aging dishwashing machine with a state of the art system which finely grinds food wastes and separates excess water from the material – making it an excellent raw material for composting. The new dishwashing system also reduced electricity and water consumption drastically. According to Rebecca Rosing-Johnson, composting the food waste will reduce the quantity of municipal waste by as much as 350 tons per year – a one-third reduction! Presently, collection of compostable materials is handled entirely by university employees. In the future, compost collection areas will be expanded to include campus eating areas such as Cool Beans, East Coasterz and will be an option for campus events – allowing students, faculty, staff and visitors to separate their own compostable materials.