SIU opens new compost facility - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

SIU opens new compost facility

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CARBONDALE -- Southern Illinois University has found a surprising new use for table scraps left behind in the dining hall, teaming up with university farms and the Sustainability Project to send all dining hall waste to a new compost facility. 

Burgers, French fries, and broccoli casserole are all taken to the new "forced air compost facility" just a mile off campus. 

"These are the bins where the compost material is placed, and actually since we can see this, down on the bottom there are PVC pipes and the PVC pipes have small holes in them and that's what forces air ration," said Karen Midden, Associate Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences.

The compost is made up of 25 percent plant waste, 25 percent animal waste, and 50 percent of SIU's food waste. 

"This is a great deal of material that's not going to sanitary land fill," she said.

Instead of turning the compost daily, which is labor intensive, eight huge bins allow air to vent up through the compost, which speeds up the process. 
The facility doesn't have running water, but when water is needed to help the process along they make due with what they have. 

"We are using rain water from the roof of this structure- We have a large gutter system on it and we have an additional set of storage tanks to store that underground outside the facility here," said Myron Albers, Interim Director of SIU Farms.

The compost that is made is used to fertilize the crops at SIU, and those crops make it back to the dining hall, bringing it all full circle. 

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