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Spring-Summer '14 PHE-FRC Campus Updates

PA Higher Ed Food Recovery Challenge
Each school in the Challenge is encouraged to submit a several sentence update each month regarding activity on your campus related to the PA Higher Ed Food Recovery Challenge.  To do so, please click "Add Post" and enter your update.  Please include your school's name with each submission.

Help others learn by sharing your experience. To begin, log in (top right of the site) and then click "Add Post" below. Enter your text and click "Post."

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  • 06 Jun 2014 1:41 PM | Tom Simpson

    Since the beginning of May Franklin and Marshall has been on a reduced kitchen schedule. There have been a few events producing food waste, but not much. This weekend is Reunion Weekend with several dining events. We met earlier in the week to plan for capturing as much compostable material as possible. Pick-ups by our hauler have been on a call-in basis.

    Next week begins our summer camp series with a few smaller groups. On June 29 we begin in earnest and we have been planning how to capture as much food waste as possible. During the following six weeks we should be collecting amounts similar to what happens during the school year.

    Truly gratifying to us is the fact that we are now receiving and utilizing finished compost on our grounds. This completes the circle for us since at least some portion of the compost was made using our food wastes. Success!

    This spring we began collecting food waste from our weekly Common Hour lecture series. Future plans will involve expanding collection to new events and sites.

  • 05 Jun 2014 10:03 AM | Anonymous
    So things have slowed down for us, same as they have for everyone. We did have several issues this year. The first was with the start of our food recovery program, collecting food from catering events. There was really never any excess food left, so we only had one collection day, which was prior to the Thanksgiving location when Parkhurst wanted to clean out their refrigerators and storage places of food that would go to waste over the break. Because of this we are currently looking off campus with our food recovery program; students are reaching out to local restaurants (chain and non-chain) to form partnerships. 

    With our composting program, we didn't collect anything after December because our composters froze, as usual, over the winter. But because of the harshness of the temperatures and how long it lasted, the tubs only thawed at the end of April. So for the last two weeks of classes, it wasn't worth the time to try collecting food waste again. We are working on how to improve our composting program to either prevent the freezing over the winter, or to help thaw the tubs faster in the early spring. 
  • 03 Jun 2014 10:19 PM | Deleted user

    Penn state Behrend does  not compost or have any food donations over the summer as our cafeteria is mostly closed and our residence halls are empty.

    Over the summer we will let our current compost pile cure, test it to ensure it is finished through the Ag lab at University Park and through a phytotoxin test at our own lab. When we verify that the compost is finished we strain it and use it around our campus.

    Penn State Behrend received the2014 Waste Management Environmental Excellence Award for our successful composting program. We will receive this award on Monday, June 23rd.

    Since the beginning of our compost program in 2009 we have diverted 122,248 lbs. of food residuals from our landfill. We learned a lot by composting this winter.  The program continues to expand. It now involves student workers, Housing and Food and Maintenance and Operations.

    We had some miscommunication with our food donations toward the end of the semester. But, we worked out these issues and, I believe, I have a good student group to get it up and moving forward for fall semester.

    We started a small herb garden by our kitchen to grow, dry and freeze herbs for our kitchen. We continue to buy locally and look for ways to reduce food waste at purchase point.

  • 03 Apr 2014 1:34 PM | Deleted user

    This is the first winter we composted. It worked out well with a few weather related problems.

    In February we collected 39,440 lbs of organic material.

    In addition, we have donated 3133 lbs of food to Erie City Mission from September 2013 until end of February. We also joined the Food Recovery Network ( FRN) and a student wrote a grant and we received reusable containers to store and help transport food.

  • 03 Apr 2014 12:00 PM | Drew Niemann
    Plans have started to bring retail venues on board with composting moving forward. In addition, additional cans are being brought to the student restaurant to capture food waste as the initiative is beginning to gain traction among students. The week members of the management team took a tour of the composting (Terra Gro) facility with other members of the campus community. Began discussions with a student leader on campus to begin the Food Recovery Challenge.
  • 03 Apr 2014 11:56 AM | Ron Wood

    We have input our baseline data and are compiling the optional landfilled information so as to have that included in our baseline data for 2013.  We opted to include this as we would like to see the year to year results of shifting our waste stream to mostly compostable items. We anticipate having the landfill data by the end of this week and submitting shortly thereafter.

    In partnership with our Office of Sustainability and our Campus Organic Garden we anticipate getting our first crop of hot house lettuces and greens by the end of this month.  We have commited to utilizing as much product as they can produce.  The garden was recently expanded by adding several acres of growing space. We anticipate production to yield usable products April through October.

  • 03 Apr 2014 10:46 AM | Michael Lusk

    Keystone delivered 75 lbs. of food this month to local pantry. New ORCA food digester is here on campus, we look to have it hooked up by next week. It will digest up 1500  lbs. of organic food in 24 hours, turning it into grey water. Earth day activities planned for students utlizing as much local foods as possible.



  • 26 Mar 2014 9:41 AM | Anonymous
    Mercyhurst hasn't had much progress this winter leading into spring relating to Food Recovery. We had started leftover food collection with our dining services through catering; however because of how well they do with re-using food without wasting, there hasn't been much collection. So, instead, our Service Learning department has been reaching out to local restaurants including Little Caesar and Tim Horton about possibly working with them on a Food Recovery program. Will keep you updated on how that goes. As far as composting, due to the awful cold, our composters have been frozen since Christmas and we are hoping that we can get everything thawed and broken up by the second week of April so we can at least start collecting some food waste before graduate. 
  • 07 Mar 2014 10:25 AM | Drew Niemann
    The start of the new school year saw the addition of Post Consumer Waste being added to the existing composting practices on campus. The main dining hall, Restaurants at Ben Franklin began the new program at the start of the new semester with the help of the colleges Student Sustainability organization and Sustainability office. All waste in this area is either recycled or composted now. In order to go this route, Dining Services moved to 100% compostable products in its service ware offerings in the venue.
  • 06 Mar 2014 12:16 PM | Ron Wood

    March Update for Ursinus College Dining Services

    Conversion to Compostable service ware in Retail operations

    Over the winter break we converted all of the disposable service ware for our Retail operations to compostable products including the bags to collect them.

    This effort was launched out of discussions with the Office of Sustainability, Facilities and Dining Services after completing a waste diversion exercise with our ENV program classes.  Based on the data they collected we saw an opportunity to reduce the amount of trash going to landfills and the amount of product going through a recycling process and proposed moving to compostable service ware for the spring semester. The Office of Sustainability bought several new collection systems that were placed throughout the Retail operation.  Students volunteered to help with sorting instructions during meal times.

    Our Resident Dining operation has been doing post consumer composting for several years and this was the next logical step in this process as we already have a relationship with a commercial composting facility.  As of January the Culinary staff is now also composting kitchen waste from food preparation trimmings and scraps.

    We fully implemented these initiatives the first full week of the semester when we returned in January.

    The results have been a major increase in compostables and reduction in trash and recyclables.

    The cost impact has been cost neutral as we were able to eliminate several high cost plastic products in favor of compostable materials. Based on our estimates we are forecasting to save $3,000 by the end of this semester.


    Week 3 Recyclemania highlights!

    We've doubled our Food Service Organics from 1.07 lbs/person in 2013 to 1.99 this year!
      This does not include data from this semester. We expect this number to skyrocket at the end of the school year.

    Our weekly recycling rate also increased from 29.85% in 2013 to 37.17% in 2014.

    This number may edge downward as the majority of the Food Service recyclables have been replace with compostable products.


    Food Recovery Challenge Progress

    Our Sustainability Intern, Sarah Huang, has begun to input baseline data into the system.

    We are working with our Office of Sustainability and Facilities Services to collect the data needed.  We anticipate completion by the end of March.

    Real Food Challenge Progress

    UCGreen Fellow Sarah and her RFC team initiated a true partnership with Sodexo by receiving copies of electronic purchasing reports. They are organizing this data and using the information to research each food product to determine whether it qualifies as real food under the categories of local, ecologically sustainable, humane, and fair labor.

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