In 2013, UF began piloting a composting program through a partnership with Waste Corporation of America (WCA). The first phase of the program focused on organic waste collected at home football games in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, with the help and support of the University Athletic Association. By the last game of the 2013 football season, the stadium had reached a 78% diversion rate from the landfill. In fact, landfill bins were removed from the stadium during these home football games, and everything sold inside the venue was categorized as either compostable or recyclable.
In 2014, the composting initiative expanded to include the collection of pre- and post-consumer materials from Fresh Food Company and Gator Corner Dining Center. The Reitz Union also began collecting pre-consumer waste for composting. From March 2014 – February 2015, approximately 267 tons of food waste had been composted from the three campus venues. Composting is expected to expand to post-consumer collection at the Reitz Union Food Court in 2015.
What is composting, and why is it beneficial?
Compost is organic matter – such as food scraps and compostable materials – that has decomposed over time and with the help of heat and microorganisms, and can be recycled as a nutrient-rich fertilizer and soil amendment. Compost is a natural pesticide and fertilizer, and can retain water and nutrients better than traditional soils. The finished compost product can be used in gardens, landscaping, athletic fields, farming applications and more.
By composting food waste and organic materials, UF is reducing the amount of trash being hauled to the landfill while helping to create new, beneficial soil amendments for use in residential or commercial settings.