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Tuesday, November 22, 2005
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Ohio University composting project is first in state
Compost project receives $250,000 ODNR grant

ATHENS, Ohio (April 25, 2007) -- Ohio University will institute the first full-scale composting project at a college or university in the state after being awarded a grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. ODNR's Division of Recycling and Litter Prevention awarded Ohio University $250,000 as part of $1,438,000 in grants to public and private partnerships to boost the market for recycled products in Ohio.

Ohio University will use the funds to purchase and install an in-vessel composting system on the Athens campus able to handle up to three tons of waste a day. The project will create what's believed to be the largest in-vessel composting system at a college in the United States. An in-vessel system allows for the processing of biodegradable waste to a fertile soil additive in just 14 days.

"Diverting Ohio University's biodegradable and compostable waste from the Athens-Hocking landfill will allow us to shrink our ecological footprint, reduce our waste management and landscaping costs, decrease pre- and post-consumer food waste, produce a valuable soil amendment, and create new learning and research opportunities for faculty and students," said Resource Conservation Coordinator Sonia Marcus. Marcus added that the project will serve as a model for the state, region and nation.

"Our purpose is to keep Ohio growing while recognizing that our land, air and water can only give so much, can only recover so quickly," said Sean Logan, ODNR director. "These projects represent our belief that the sound management of our resources is not only the right thing to do morally, it is the right thing to do economically."

The Ohio University composting project was launched in January with the opening of the new Baker University Center. Customers and dining services employees are directed to sort the biodegradable waste from other waste by using bins labeled "compost." Results from this initiative thus far indicate that there is widespread support for the project, as well as a willingness to comply with new sorting procedures.

Biodegradable waste, like targeted recycled materials, is a valuable resource. Properly managed, it can be converted into a rich soil amendment, which can be used for campus landscaping and local agricultural purposes.

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Media Contact: Resource Conservation Coordinator Sonia Marcus, 740-593-0026 or marcuss@ohio.edu, or Senior Director of Media Relations Sally Linder, 740-597-2200 or linders@ohio.edu

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