Full-scale composting financial feasibility study

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Publication Type report
Department Office of Sustainability
Creator Morris, Cindy
Title Full-scale composting financial feasibility study
Date 2011-08
Description In June 2005, the University's trash audit estimated 720 tons of compostable food, which was 11% of the overall waste. This study investigated collection of this organic waste. The study focused on 3 areas, since 69% of the food waste came from these: the Heritage Center Cafeteria, the Student Union Building Food Court, and the University Hospital Food Services. At the University of Utah, there are 2 options for composting food waste: 1. Transport it to an off-site composting contractor or 2. Establish a composting operation on-site. For option 1, the Salt Lake County Landfill is the only contractor that will be accepting post-consumer organic waste in the near future. For option 2, because of limited space, an in-vessel composting machine was chosen. It is fully automated with sensors to monitor temperature, oxygen and moisture and a biofilter to eliminate odors. University solid waste data was collected for 2010, for comparison with 2005, and a waste audit was performed at the Heritage Center and the Union. 2010 green waste data was collected for the Grounds Department (which takes care of much of the University) and Red Butte Gardens, which totaled 448.9 tons. An estimated total of 400 tons of organic food waste from the three focus areas was calculated. Approximately 850 tons of compostable material could be diverted annually, or 2.3 tons/per day. A Financial Life Cycle Analysis was completed for each option. The results are a Life Cycle Cost (LCC) of $42,728.10 for option 1 and a Life Cycle Savings for option 2 of $ 368,608.28. This would suggest that option 2 is the better financial choice. In addition to financial impact, it should be noted that option 2 lessens green house gas emissions by at least 1000 MTCO(2)E annually. This is a result of 850 tons of waste not being hauled to the landfill, a distance of 28 miles roundtrip. There would be additional GHG emission reductions from using the compost made instead of transporting it from vendors. The ideal recommended set-up for capturing post-consumer organic waste at food venues is already in place at the University Hospital Food Services and the Heritage Center Cafeteria. At the Union Food Court, the customers would separate their own waste. This requires continuing education; however, much of the paper/packaging waste is already compostable, which helps to decrease contamination. It is recommended that a composting program be implemented to collect waste from these 3 major areas; collection could then be added from other areas after analysis of the cost and benefits.
Type Text; Image
Publisher University of Utah Office of Sustainability
Subject Composting
Language eng
Rights Management © University of Utah
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 2,496,755 bytes
Identifier sustain/id/11
ARK ark:/87278/s6710zrg
Setname ir_su
Date Created 2015-11-13
Date Modified 2021-05-06
ID 326802
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6710zrg