SIU-Carbondale turns dining hall food waste into compost

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Southern Illinois University is turning hundreds of pounds of uneaten dining hall food into compost.

The Carbondale school has a program that transfers as much as a ton of food scraps a week to a composting facility, which is in its second year.

The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports that once the food is there student workers mix it with manure from the school’s hog and horse farm. Then it’s transformed into nutrient-rich compost that is used as campus landscaping material.

Decomposition usually takes about three months. The temperature at the center of the compost pile can reach 120 to 140 degrees during the process. University Farms coordinator Michelle Sullivan says the facility is perfecting its methods and she hopes to reduce the turnaround time.