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CARE Award brings additional attention to campus composting project

CARE Award brings additional attention to campus composting project

UNI Residence Dining Services and Paul Meyerman, the Assistant Director of Operations Planning in the Physical Plant, have been awarded the 2013 CARE award.  CARE stands for Creating a Responsible Environment; the award was designed to acknowledge and honor the efforts of those who have significantly contributed to enhancing sustainability efforts at UNI.  The 2013 award draws additional attention to the pre-consumer waste recycling program that has diverted 12 tons of organic material from the landfill to compost for campus landscaping. 
Meyerman is assistant director of operations planning.  He cooperated with dining staff members Michael Weiglein, Piazza manager; Matt Copp, Piazza assistant manager; Cathy Moore, Fresh Beginnings manager; Chris Kenaga, 23rd Street Market manager, and Carolyn Young, Prexy’s manager to plan, collect and appropriately scale the operation for maximum benefit.

Recipe for compost
The Department of Residence Dining Services supplies coffee grounds, orange peels, fruit and vegetable scraps that are pre-consumer waste.  The grounds crew then picks up the organic material and takes it to their compost pile.  There the material is mixed in with leaves and grass clippings and churned to make compost. The food waste is mixed at a ratio of 1 part food waste to 2 parts “browns” (leaves/woodchips).
During the spring, summer, and fall the decomposition process takes about 12 weeks before the material is ready to use as compost.  During the composting process the pile can reach temperatures of 140 degrees Fahrenheit.  This compost is then applied on turf areas and spread throughout the campus as mulch around trees, planting beds, and gardens.   This is a great soil amendment to help fertilize the campus greenery. 

Meyermann provides leadership
Meyermann has led the charge on this endeavor.  Sustainability has been a key interest for him.  He has always had an interest in taking a waste material that we pay to haul away and turn it into a product that we currently purchase to support landscape maintenance. This is an example of a virtuous circle of sustainability, efficiency and effective grounds stewardship. 

The Department of Residence earned the award in 2010 for a residence hall recycling program.  The recycling program in Rider Hall served as the model for campus wide recycling in every residence hall.