I work at the University of Memphis, Lambuth Campus in Jackson Tennessee. I started composting food scraps from the Blue Grey Cafe on our campus February 2018. I used a plastic tilt truck as my composting container, I drilled holes in the bottom and keep it covered with a tarp. First I filled it full of leaves that I collected on campus. Then I began adding whatever food scraps our Cafe left for me after their meal preps. I gave them a bucket with a lid and I checked it every afternoon. I did not start weighing the amount collected until Fall 2018. I only collect during the Spring and Fall semesters. Fall semester totaled 157 lbs of food waste diverted, so I estimate that if as much was collected in Spring, we diverted around 300 lbs of food waste in one year.
I use two large tilt trucks for the compost. I add to one in the spring and the other throughout the fall. I turn the bins with a pitchfork every time I add fresh materials. It takes about 2 months for the compost to finish decomposing and be ready to put out in the garden. I have successfully made one usable batch of compost since last year and my second batch will be ready to put out into our campus flower beds whenever we start planting this Spring. It is fulfilling to know that we have turned waste into a valuable resource for our campus. Recently we developed a poster informing faculty and students how to compost at home. I have added two vermicompost bins on campus as well! I am excited to use some of our shredded paper waste as their bedding and to see how much of the Cafe food waste they are able to consume.
-Submitted by Camille Sikes of Madison County.
Great work, Camille!
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