Students in USU’s College of Natural Resources are challenging students to compost their food and plant waste. The Campus Composting Challenge, directed by horticulture sophomore Bethany Heineman, began last semester and continues as part of a campus-wide initiative to improve the sustainability of USU’s waste disposal. Composting, Heineman said, is a process in which organic wastes, such as food and plant scraps, are disposed of in a controlled method that allows an increased breakdown of the material, as compared with traditional landfill dumping. After a period of time the material degrades to a state, known as humus, that returns nutrients to the soil and can be used as fertilizer in gardens and farms. “Things don’t break down in a landfill,” Heineman said. “You’re not going to get that stuff back.” Near the end of fall semester, Heineman and Natural Resource Sen. John Rentschler distributed empty Aggie Ice Cream buckets to students to aid in separating and storing organic wastes, and a dumping bin was set up in the parking lot of the Natural Resource Building to collect the material. Around 60 buckets were given out and Heineman said she is looking for a permanent location to serve as a hub for the project and involve more students. “It’s still in that informal position,” Rentschler said. Rentschler said that for many students, living in apartments without gardens or indoor plants, the idea of composting might not seem practical, but stressed that while they may not benefit tangibly, they would be doing their part in the community. “The ‘why’ is to alleviate materials in the landfill that can break down,” Rentschler said.
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