Composting

Here at CSU we compost food waste, animal bedding, animal manure, green waste and more at our two composting installations - "Oscar" and "The Windrows".

"Oscar" is an Earth Flow in-vessel composter that can process up to 2000 pounds of compostables per day; see this link for more on Oscar: https://housing.colostate.edu/about/sustainability

Our Compost Story

CSU began running its Windrow composting facility on its Foothills campus (3 miles west of Main campus) in March 2017, with the goal to become financially self-sufficient. Initial funding, to construct the facility and buy equipment, was provided by the student-run University Facility Fee Advisory Board. The composting program continues to grow each month, and receives support and guidance from CSU’s dedicated staff, faculty, and students.


 

COMPOST TIMELINE

March 2017 

 
The Windrows began operation on Foothills Campus.We compost food waste, animal bedding, animal manure,
green waste,and paper towels - all sourced from CSU’s multiple Fort Collins’ campuses.

September 2017 

 
We collected compostable waste from our new on-campus stadium for the first time. Thanks to the tireless
efforts of our student-run Zero Waste Team, at the first 6 home football games, we were able to divert over
1,000 pounds of compostable waste that would have ended up at the landfill, and the amount has
increased to about 1,000 pounds per game.

December 2017 

 
Between April 1st and December 31st, CSU incorporated 369 tons of compostable material into our Windrows
- the equivalent of 45 elephants!

March 2018 

 
This marks the one-year anniversary of our large scale composting operation! We now have created
a total of 14 Windrows, and are making more every day.

Windrows

"The Windrow" is a full-scale windrow composting facility located on our Foothills research campus in Fort Collins.  The funding to construct the facility, which included grading, equipment and permitting was provided by the student-run University Facility Advisory Board.

From its start in March 2017 to March 2018, the windrows have composted over 396 tons of organic material, most of which would have ended up in the landfill if not for this operation.

The windrows are long piles of waste that are carefully monitored and turned. Over time, the organic waste is broken-down and transformed into compost!
The windrows are long piles of waste organics that are turned, watered and monitored.  After three months the material is compost.

Dedication to Students, Oscar and The Windrows are a living, learning laboratory where undergraduate and graduate students can work, volunteer, and learn about composting. It is part of CSU’s mission to teach future leaders about sustainability.

Waste Reduction, Composting rather than landfilling is a beneficial and sustainable way to manage solid waste like compostable containers used on campus, food, animal waste, animal bedding, paper towels, and more.

Using our Compost, CSU uses a portion of the finished compost produced by The Windrows and by Oscar on campus landscaping and horticulture projects. Compost is also donated to local farms and community members.

Planning for the Future, As more compost is produced, it will be bagged and sold to community business through Surplus Property.

Watch this video to get a glimpse at
what we are doing at The Windrows
:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUdK7LDU69U

 

FAQs

Can I come and get CSU compost myself?

If you work in a department that would like to use some of CSU’s compost for educational or research purposes, please contact the Integrated Solid Waste Department in Facilities Management: https://www.fm.colostate.edu/isw


We are not at the point yet where we can sell the finished compost to the public, though a bagger will be purchased in the future. We do, however, provide an annual giveaway of up to five gallons of compost to CSU students, faculty, and staff during Earth Day festivities.


Can I bring yard or food waste from home to CSU composting facilities?
No. Our facility is governed by State regulations and therefore we are only allowed to accept CSUgenerated compostables.


How can I get involved? 
If you are a student, you can join the Zero Waste Team @ CSU. They help to educate the CSU community and ultimately decrease organic waste from going to the landfill. Visit their Ramlink page for more information: https://ramlink.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/zerowasteteamcsu or email them directly at csuzerowasteteam@gmail.com

Additionally, most buildings with a loading dock have a large brown bin for composting. Dump your organic waste in the bin, and it will be taken to The Windrows!

More and more buildings on campus are participating in composting by distributing public access compost buckets throughout academic buildings. To get a bucket for your building, or if you are interested in managing a compost bucket, contact Sheela Backen at sheela.backen@colostate.edu.

Fun composting Facts

+ We generate about 400,000 pounds of foodwaste each year from CSU’s dining centers, all of which is composted


+ Ram Welcome festivities and other campus community events feature composting collection and education


+ The Athletics Department supports the composting operations; composting compliments athletics’ participation in the Green Sport Alliance

 


Recycling

With an expanding campus and community, we want to ensure that Rams stay educated on proper recycling practices. Contamination of recycling bins is an on-going problem that can result in large quantities of recyclables being sent to the landfill. Please use this graphic and help to spread the message.  Recycle right! When in doubt – throw it out!

If you are excited about recycling, get excited about RecycleMania - CSU has also participated in RecycleMania since 2005, a nationwide voluntary recycling competition that allows university’s to encourage active involvement in waste reduction over a 10-week period. The goal is to promote student, faculty and staff awareness of waste minimization. Consistently, CSU places within the top 10% of schools in the nation.

To learn more, please visit the official RecycleMania website.

Additional Diversion Options at CSU

For proper disposal of other items and materials, CSU offers a variety of services to help divert unwanted items from the landfill.

  • Surplus Property – located on the Southwest corner of campus (201 W. Lake St.), CSU Surplus Property specializes in the reuse, re-sale, and recycling of items owned by the university. The store is open to the public and all university departments. Special ewaste (electronic waste) collection is also offered for students, faculty, and staff to bring unwanted or broken electronics to be properly disposed of for a small service fee. For a detailed list of acceptable items, visit the webpage here:  http://cr.colostate.edu/surplus-property.html
  • Take It or Leave It Program – A great team effort by many CSU and local nonprofit volunteers helped continue the CSU sustainability tradition of keeping leftover student items out of the landfill during residence hall move-out. For five years, CSU Housing & Dining Services and CSU Surplus had teamed up to collect unwanted items from students leaving the residence halls. Through the “Leave It Behind” program and the subsequent “Community Tent Sale,” items were collected, sorted, tagged and sold through Surplus. In 2018 the program evolved into “Take It or Leave It,” which encouraged students to bring unwanted items to large trucks conveniently parked outside the residence halls.
  • Batteries – there are special collection buckets scattered around campus – please find one if you need one – do not send you batteries to the landfill! We can accept: Alkaline, NiCad (NiCd), Gel pack, or Rechargeable
    • Please call 970-491-0113 for a special collection container (call for empty and return on these containers)

Tips for Zero Waste Events!

In line with promoting sustainability on campus and in the community, CSU’s Zero Waste Team is a student-led volunteer group with a passion for reducing waste on campus and in daily life choices. The Zero Waste Team consistently attends home football games with the goal of making sure that compost, trash, and recycling stations are properly sorted. Interested in joining? Email csuzerowasteteam@gmail.com to get involved!

Hosting Your Own Zero Waste Event:

To kick-off a zero waste event of your own there’s just a few things you’ll need before getting started.

  • Compost, recycle and trash bins – easily accessible
  • Reusable plates, cups and utensils (preferred); but compostable items also work
  • Informing people how to properly dispose items in bins (making sure recyclables are clean!)

Following these simple steps can help to host zero waste events for almost any occasion! Composting and recycling allow us to re-use a significant portion of the waste we produce on a daily basis and divert it from the landfill. Here at CSU we’re committed to reducing our impact as a university and empowering students, faculty and staff alike to take the same initiative in their daily lives!

For more information or questions about the nature of zero waste events contact csuzerowasteteam@gmail.com

For more information about Integrated Solid Waste at CSU – trash, recycling, or composting – please contact Sheela Backen at Sheela.Backen@colostate.edu or (970)491-0122.