During the academic year, the Medford campus now composts a little over one ton of food waste each day. Our annual total is now over 200 tons.
The composting program has allowed Tufts Dining Services to reduce its yearly solid food and non-food waste sent to the dump site by 62%. Employees in Carmichael Dining Hall, Dewick-MacPhie Dining Hall, the Tufts Catering department and the university’s Central Production Facility place food scraps and organic materials into composting bins.
Food waste from Tufts is picked up from two haulers – Save That Stuff, Inc. and Herb’s Disposal. Save That Stuff collects from Carmichael Dining Hall and takes the material to Rocky Hill Farm in Saugus, MA. Herb’s Disposal picks up material from Dewick Mac-Phie and takes it to Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)-permitted compost facilities in Massachusetts; this material can travel as far as Maine! Our food waste is combined with leaves and other organic materials to generate nutrient-rich compost for farmers and landscapers.
Keeping organic materials out of Massachusetts’ already crowded landfills not only saves landfill space but also cuts the generation of methane, which is a powerful greenhouse gas created from organic materials’ anaerobic decomposition.
Tufts students have found that compared to the amount of methane prevented by composting, the carbon emissions from the Herb’s Disposal hauling truck are negligible.
Since 2005, the amount of composted food that Tufts sends to Save that Stuff and Herb’s Disposal continues to increase annually. Here are the statistics for between the fiscal years of 2005 and 2010.
For more information about composting, the world’s oldest recycling system, please visit www.vegweb.com/composting.
Tufts Dining employees separate food scraps during meal preparation.
The food Tufts students leave on their trays is emptied into the “river” by dishroom staff.
Food scraps are then “pulped” to extract water. The finished scraps look similar to hummus.