Comet Composting Initiative
The University of Texas at Dallas has evolved its composting program from previously targeting only landscape waste, to including pre and post-consumer food waste, and now to providing students, staff, and faculty the opportunity to compost on-campus. Since 2012, UT Dallas has composted over 500,000 lbs. of food waste, therefore diverting 81 metric tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere campus-wide. Since expanding the compost program into Housing in September 2018, over 11,000 lbs. of food waste has been composted from on-campus resident participants.
Food Service Composting
Composting is an important part of the campus waste management program that is continuously evolving. Pre-consumer food waste contributions began in 2011 in partnership with Dining Services and Facilities Management. In August 2017, specialized compost containers were installed near kitchen locations, therefore simplifying the pre-consumer food waste collection process. With this new expansion, additional food items became acceptable in the waste stream that were not previously accepted (for example, meat and dairy products), increasing the amount of food waste that is recycled. As of current, Dining Services, in partnership with Turn Compost, has taken the lead and moved to all food waste collections in Dining Hall West.
Composting has been on the mind of students for many years. In fall 2018, the UT Dallas Student Government Green Initiative Committee took the lead and collaborated with The Office of Sustainability within Facilities Management and Housing to make the composting program accessible to UTD students living on campus. Beginning in 2022, the Office of Sustainability began a partnership with Turn Compost, and compost drop off stations were expanded from three to eleven locations, including expanded service to Canyon Creek, Northside, University Village, residence halls, and the campus core. In order to participate in the program, residents view the online training and complete a short post-quiz. During the training, residents will learn what goes in the compost containers, how to manage individualized food collection caddies, and acquire a combination for the lock securing the containers. The locations of the compost containers can be found in the Comet Composting training video.
Managing a university includes tree and landscape maintenance. When enough wood-based landscape waste is collected, Facilities Management disposes of the waste in a container that is serviced by a third party to be composted.