Elmhurst Awarded State Grant to Expand Composting Efforts

July 23, 2013 | by the Office of Marketing and Communications

A state grant will enable Elmhurst College, already a regional leader in food scrap composting, to significantly expand its composting efforts.

The grant for $28,782 was awarded to the College by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s competitive Food Scrap Composting Grant Program. Finalized in May, the grant, along with a $7,000 contribution by the College, will cover the purchase of a powerful grinder that will be used in the campus dining operations to increase the diversion of material from landfilling to composting.

Through the efforts of Elmhurst College’s facilities and food service operations, as well as the Office of Residence Life and students on the Living Green Team, the College has been composting food scraps from its dining operation for more than a year. The grinder will reduce the volume of bowls, plates and other items made of compostable materials, making it easier for haulers to collect and also resulting in faster decomposition when composted.

The grinder will be installed and ready for use by the time students arrive in August for the start of the Fall Term. Once the grinder is operational, estimates are that the College could generate as much as 900 gallons of compostable material and food scraps per week.

Composting is one of the most recent examples of Elmhurst College’s wide-ranging efforts to protect the environment and create a campus culture of living green.

In 1966, the College established the campus arboretum, which today boasts more than 800 trees and shrubs from 150 varieties. Elmhurst’s newest residence hall, West Hall, was awarded a silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating by the U.S. Green Building Council for its sustainable design features.

The College has a Sustainability Committee, composed of students, faculty and administrators, that promotes sustainability efforts across campus. The College also has a Sustainability Plan that addresses how resources are used in all of the College’s operations, and that encourages the campus community to use those resources in more environmentally responsible ways.

Elmhurst College’s core values include a commitment to pursue innovations that respect the environment and foster sustainability in the management of its resources. Student groups such as the Greenjays and Living Green Team educate the campus community about conservation, recycling and composting programs. Students and staff also have led several hugely successful electronics recycling events for residents of the City of Elmhurst.

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