Preventing kitchen scraps from entering the traditional waste stream keeps a valuable resource out of the landfill because food scraps can be added to other materials like yard waste to make an organic matter that is good for gardening, flowers, and even lawns.
At UWM, the Sandburg Café currently collects its pre-cooked kitchens scraps- potato peelings, strawberry hauls, etc, for making compost. Students also compost paper drink and food containers in the dining hall. The UWM Grind also composts its coffee grounds. These materials are then picked up by Growing Power, Milwaukee’s nonprofit urban garden. There the kitchen scraps are mixed with other matter and made into a rich compost through “vermicomposting”, the process of using worms and micro-organisms to turn kitchen waste into a nutrient-rich humus..
Average amount of kitchen scraps from the Sandburg Café = 1500-3000 pounds/week
• Reduced waste going to landfills
• Reduced cost and added space for waste pickups
• Compost sent to Growing Power, just 7 miles from campus, who is knowledgeable about managing compost. No onsite campus vessel needed.
• Closed loop system- turning a waste into a new beneficial product
• Suppress plant diseases and pests*
• Reduce or eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers*
• Promote higher yields of agricultural crops*
• Facilitate reforestation, wetlands restoration, and habitat revitalization efforts by amending contaminated, compacted, and marginal soils*
• Cost-effectively remediate soils contaminated by hazardous waste*
• Remove solids, oil, grease, and heavy metals from stormwater runoff*
• Capture and destroy 99.6 percent of industrial volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) in contaminated air*
*Source: US EPA