Students at Chicago campuses are initiating the widespread use of compost in order to deal with food waste on and around their campuses. At Colombia College in Chicago, a composting program transports food waste from the campus to be broken down into soil nutrients used all around Chicago, including on the Colombia campus itself. Enacted in 2011, the composting program has delivered up to 13 tons of waste during the 2012-2013 school year.
Loyola University of Chicago students have also taken steps to save excess food from ending up in landfills. The Compost Collection program, started in 2012, has brought over 65 tons of waste from the school’s dining hall to a compost facility during its first year. Composting excess food from the campus ensures both the reduction of waste in landfills and an improvement in the quality of life on campus.
Loyola’s composting program doesn’t end on campus. The Compost Collection Program also encourages business owners around Chicago to join the college in their practice of composting. “By handling food scraps responsibility, I am helping to ensure that future generations have access to the plentiful supply and variety of food that we do,” said Paula Campanino, owner of True Nature Foods, a meat co-op in Chicago. The Compost Collection Network enlists the help of local buisnesses to compost waste and practice sustainability.
The composting programs on these two campuses were funded through grants received by the colleges. Colombia College received a US$5,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and Loyola University of Chicago was awarded US$90,000 by the Searle Funds at the Chicago Community Trust. Through the reception of these grants, these two Chicago schools were able to promote the use of composting to effectively reduce waste in not only in their school but also in the community around them.