«Fall Semester 2009 Steven Adler Kristin Blaha Rachel Lipman Kurt Saunders Julie Wang Executive Summary The Composting Crusaders endeavor is to ...»
Once on the composting site, workers would need to spread the compost out and make sure to incorporate the correct 3:1 balance of carbon to nitrogen wastes. For implementing Vermicomposting, worms would need to be added in proper quantities to break down the waste. For maintaining an active pile, the pile would need to be turned every 3 to 4 days in order to incorporate oxygen. Both plots would also need to be watered.
Recommendations The new opportunities created by a composting program will allow students to contribute to the program’s success. The most effective way to galvanize labor production for a composting program is to make a class, or several classes, that carry out the composting project. Through university classes, students are able to learn about the composting process, conduct research on microorganisms that live in the compost, and provide the labor necessary to make a successful composting program. A side-goal of implementing a composting program focuses on the research conducted on the composting process. If utilized correctly, the research could enhance and refine the composting process to make it more efficient in the future.
After the composting program is implemented, all the essential elements such as materials, labor, and space have been acquired, and the first batch of compostable material has been laid out, there is still one more necessary factor – time. Compost needs to sit and carry out its natural processes. After the process completes itself, the compost still needs to mature. Piles that have gone through hot and cold active and passive stages require 9 - 12 months before they are useable in applications around campus. For these reasons, the composting project will need to begin as a grassroots effort, relying on one dining hall for the necessary nitrogenous and carbon resources. The composting plan will also be completed in stages such as year 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, so that composted products are constantly available after the first batch has matured and can be used around campus.
Overall, our findings have led us to decide that Vermicomposting would be the best type of composting to use at the University of Delaware. It has a faster turn-around rate of an applicable composted product, and is more practical to implement in a class setting because of the educational opportunities involved in studying the process of the worms and other microorganisms that live amongst the compost materials. Since this process would occur indoors, materials could be composted year-round, whereas piles outside would remain dormant in the winter season.
Conclusion In association with the University of Delaware’s dining services, Agriculture department, waste disposal services, and Delaware students, a composting program is wholeheartedly feasible. Through the process, we hope to put a new face on composting so that it can be seen as the environmentally and economically friendly method that it is.
Additionally, while other waste disposal techniques leave an unbearable stench and several forms of pollution in their wake, composting will only leave behind more fertile soil and greener landscapes. Landfills dominate available land at an alarming rate, but composting serves as an effective solution to this growing problem. Dartmouth College has already shown that such a practice can be implemented with great success. Our four dining halls will produce more than enough nitrogenous waste and yard waste collected from landscaping. Furthermore, computer lab waste products supply adequate carbon waste that can be incorporated into a 3:1 carbon to nitrogen mixture of materials. From there, Vermicomposting has been deemed the most suitable to University of Delaware’s setting, and it is simply a matter of following a specific formula. The University of Delaware is a foundation for undergraduates to establish their futures, and a composting program would not only raise the visibility of green practices, but also demonstrate that loving the earth is a viable, effective option that can extend beyond the university setting.
Appendix A - Interview Questions for Gail Hermenau
1. Are there currently plots of land designated for composting?
2. How you thought about implementing a composting plan at UD?
3. What steps have been taken to perpetuate composting? If not, is composting at UD a feasible idea?
4. What composting plans, if any, already exist?
5. What types of waste from dining halls can be composted?
6. Are there students, staff, or project teams that could manage this process?
7. After composting, what can the composted material be used for?
8. Does the Agriculture school have all the resources available to implement a composting program?
9. Would implementing a composting program be cost effective for the University of Delaware?
Appendix B - Interview Questions for Dining Services¹
1. What does the dining hall do with the waste generated by students?
2. Currently, how much dining hall waste is compostable?
3. What steps have currently been taken to make UD dining more sustainable?
4. What partnership, if any, does Dining Services have with the Ag school?
5. What types of waste are gathered from the dining hall?
6. Would it be possible to increase dining hall staff to accomplish a composting
7. Would it be feasible to collect and sort dining hall waste?
8. How are jobs allocated in the dining hall? For example, are peoples' jobs interchangeable, and if so, can this versatility benefit a composting program?
9. Would implementing a composting program be cost effective for the University of
¹We were unable to receive a response from Dining Services in a timely manner for this report, but these were the questions our team sent to them. If a composting program is implemented at the University of Delaware, further research can be done utilizing these questions.
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Hermenau, Gail. Personal Interview. 16 Nov. 2009 “Landfills: Environmental Problems.” The Landfill Site, 2000. Web. 24 Nov. 2009 “Marketing Composts and Meeting Consumer Needs.” Cornell Waste Management Institute,
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Environmental Protection Agency, 7 Oct. 2009. Web. 21 Oct. 2009.
“Why Compost?” Composting Condos, 6 May 2009. Web. 24 Nov. 2009.