Composting at Ole Miss
The pilot composting program at Ole Miss began in the fall of 2013 after receiving funding from the Green Fund. The project was awarded $3,000 to collect pre-consumer food waste from the Marketplace at the Residential Colleges. The compost program has since expanded to collect food waste from other campus dining facilities including the Marketplace at the Residential Colleges, Rebel Market, Freshii, the Grill at 1810, Einstein’s, Ole Miss Catering and Lenoir Dining. Since 2013, the program has diverted more than 130,000 lbs of food waste from landfill.
What is composting?
Composting is the process by which organic materials are broken down by microorganisms at relatively high, yet stable temperatures. This process results in the generation of nutrient-rich soil called humus.
Why does Ole Miss compost?
In a landfill, layers of trash block the flow of oxygen to decomposing food scraps. This results in the release of methane, a potent gas that traps heat in the atmosphere. Food in a compost pile breaks down naturally, greatly reducing the impact of your breakfast, lunch and dinner.
How does the UM Composting Program work?
The Office of Sustainability employs a team of Green Student Interns to collect food material, including fruits, vegetables, grains, eggs, coffee grounds and more, and combines it with dry, nitrogenous materials such as wood chips and leaves. These materials decompose for the duration of the semester on a plot of land at the Maynard W. Quimby Medicinal Plant Garden on campus. The decomposed material creates a rich soil amendment, which is then used at various gardens both on and off campus. If you are interested in using compost from the project in your garden, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The UM composting program provides opportunities to get involved in the composting process. At least once a semester, students, faculty, and staff have the ability to help the Compost Team sift finished compost. Volunteers get to experience the composting process hands on as they work the materials in the matured compost pile through a wire screen that separates things like sticks, rocks, and unfinished compost from the final, nitrogen enriched soil. Sifting the compost is required for the compost to be distributed and important for ensuring a quality soil product because it guarantees that large particles, like sticks and rocks, will not affect the germination and growth of plant seeds. This semester on November 21 there will be a Thanksgiving themed Sift-A-Thon with fun games at the Compost site. To get your hands dirty with us, click here.
Start Your Own Compost Pile
The Office of Sustainability has developed a guide to starting and maintaining your own compost pile. Access the compost guide by clicking here.
Support the Compost Program
The compost program is partly made possible through generous donations from people like you. You can donate to the compost program through the UM Foundation. To donate, visit www.umfoundation.com/umcompost. Donations of any amount are received with gratitude!