On an American campus, a kitchen team commits to composting its bio-waste
Vegetable peelings, eggshells, coffee grounds, etc.: all this waste is now composted on the campus of Ferrum College (North Carolina – USA). Working hand in hand with the university, and particularly the assistant professor of biology and horticulture, the restaurant teams have launched a program to compost food waste. “Our joint ambition is to reduce our waste for a more responsible university,” explains Levi Briggs, catering director for Aladdin Campus Dining, an Elior subsidiary in the United States. This compost will be used on the farm and in the university gardens, where the herbs used in the kitchen are grown. “We grow and cook a dozen herbs in a garden located next to the loading dock,” Levi stressed.
We grow and cook a dozen herbs in a garden located next to the loading dock
Over the course of a semester, his team filled tubs containing nearly 300 kilos of compost. “A material that is both nitrogen-rich (food scraps), and carbon-rich (leaves, sawdust, cardboard and paper).” For Levi, this compost is essential to avoid food waste. For his teams, it has almost become second nature to put bio-waste in a bin provided for this purpose. “Gradually, we are composting leftover cooked meals that we cannot reuse at the end of the service, such as zucchini or pasta”. Certain foods such as citrus, onions, potatoes, and garlic scraps are not composted because earthworms are not particularly fond of these items; and they can interfere with the Ph balance of the compost by killing the micro-organisms needed to break down the food scraps.
"The university's environmental science program (one of the oldest in the country) is involved in this compost project," explained Levi. It tests samples to determine the nutrient density of the compost. The agricultural students will be responsible for emptying the bins and hauling the usable compost to the agricultural center. The Aladdin teams are also purchasing lettuce and cabbage from the campus farm. This will soon be extended to neighboring farms. “We pride ourselves on acting in a local and responsible manner.”