On Saturday, September 12 during the VT vs. Marshall football game, Dining Services began composting food waste from Lane Stadium’s suites and indoor concession stands. Approximately 300 lbs of food waste was diverted from the landfill! Dining Services will continue to compost at the stadium for the remainder of the football season.
Composting is a huge step forward for environmental sustainability in food service. When food and other organic waste enters a landfill, it not only takes up valuable space, but it produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. In fact, methane is approximately 20 times more potent than CO2—72 times more potent when measured over a 20 year time span (Stop Trashing the Climate, 2008). This methane release is avoided by composting organic waste instead of disposing of it in a landfill. Composting is doubly helpful for the environment as the finished product can be used to promote healthy soil and avoidance of petrochemicals.
The New River Valley is lucky to have a recently permitted, nearby commercial compost facility in Riner, VA: Poplar Manor Enterprises, LLC (PME). PME is managed by Calin & Mindy Farley, a young, local couple and grads of VT and Radford University, respectively. PME provides an excellent service to the community, being he first food waste collection service of its kind in Virginia.
VT Dining Services began composting pre-consumer food waste with PME at the Southgate Center in January 2009. Since then, we have diverted over 50 tons of organic waste from the landfill! PME reports, “VT has really set the bar for future composters.”
The next step for composting here on campus is to expand to post-consumer waste in the Dining Centers. Stay tuned for upcoming progress!