The New Composting on Campus System


Bins such as the one pictured have popped up on campus for organic recycling (Photo Credit: Luke Gentle).

A look at the organic recycling now on campus.

Luke Gentle

Web Editor

Organic recycling was introduced on the Coon Rapids campus toward the end of the spring 2017 semester.  Organic recycling, also known as composting, consists of collecting biodegradable organic material and allowing the material decompose into nutrient-rich fertilizer.  Composting benefits the environment by reducing the amount of landfill waste and allowing nutrients to re-enter the environment through the fertilizer produced.   

Composting on campus was an idea in the making for a while, but finally gained traction through the efforts of new Facilities Director Ken Karr and Facilities staff member Dave Madden.  Karr was crucial in approval of the program.  The faculty-run sustainability committee was also a driving force behind composting on campus.  In addition, the nonprofit organization Minnesota Waste Wise also helped bring the new form of recycling to the campus by helping Anoka Ramsey attain a grant from Anoka County that helped pay for setting up organic recycling.   

This Display, found in the cafeteria, shows what paper products can be composted (Photo Credit: Luke Gentle).

Organic recycling bins can be found in all restrooms, the cafeteria, by the student center coffee shop, and other areas on campus.  Anything recently living, any food waste, and some BPI certified paper products, such as the paper towels and napkins found in the Coffee Shop and Cafeteria, can be composted.  To prevent contamination, it is critical that only compostable products are placed in the organic recycling bins. 

Labels like these can indicate whenever a product is able to be composted (Photo Credit: Biodegradable Products Institute).

The core reason for the introduction of the organic recycling was to reduce landfill waste, but also to help save the campus money.  Landfill waste is taxed based on the amount of landfill waste created, so the campus is not taxed for organic recycling.  By moving some of the landfill waste into organic recycling, the amount of taxes that the campus pays can be reduced.