The Cook Campus Animal Farm has received has received a new state-of-the-art composting system. Earth Flow™, an in-vessel system manufactured by Green Mountain Technologies, has the capacity to automatically process up to 30,000 pounds of compostable materials each month.
This aerated in-vessel composter is part of a research and demonstration project. Instead of being disposed of in landfills, the food waste generated at the Neilson Dining Hall will now be transported by a small electric vehicle to the farm on College Farm Road where the composter is located. The food waste will then be combined with the animal manure generated at the farm to be composted together. This approach to managing food waste is a first for Rutgers.
This system will reduce the environmental impact and financial cost of hauling waste to landfills. In addition, it will create compost that will be used to enrich the campus’ landscapes, gardens, and greenhouses. A research and demonstration project, it will help in diverting dining hall waste from landfills, an important factor for Rutgers’ sustainability and climate change mitigation. The project will assess environmental, economic, and social impacts of food waste diversion and will serve as the first step in the creation of an “Organics Recycling and Reutilization Living-Laboratory.”
The project is funded by a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection grant and includes multiple collaborators at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. Leading the project is Serpil Guran, director of the EcoComplex, as the principal investigator. Faculty members Gal Hochman (DAFRE), Ethan Schoolman (Human Ecology), Daniel Gimenez (Environmental Science), and Soil Testing Lab Director Stephanie Murphy are contributing as co-principal investigators.
The following individuals have provided invaluable contributions as well: Clint Burgher, manager of Rutgers Research Farms; Peggy Brennan-Tonetta, director of Resource and Economic Development at NJAES and senior associate director of NJAES; Joseph Charette, director of Rutgers Food Services; Angela Oberg, associate director of the Office of Climate Action; and Xenia Morin, associate teaching professor (Plant Biology) and undergraduate program director, Agriculture and Food Systems. Rutgers Students for Environmental Awareness (SEA) and others are also contributing to this project.
For more information, contact Serpil Guran at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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