Grounds Management of the UW Seattle Campus seeks to implement a green waste composting program; waste that currently goes to Cedar Grove will be composted and used on-site to maintain the soil health of the UW landscape. Benefits of this program will include long term cost savings, greenhouse gas emissions avoided, student opportunities for engagement and leadership and composted material will be available to campus organizations, such as the UW Farm, SEED and UW Botanic Gardens. Estimated total cost is $153,637.00 and the compost committee is requesting $78,637 from the Campus Sustainability Fund, with the rest of the costs being matched by Grounds Management.
Maintenance of campus grounds results in the accumulation of large volumes of organic waste, with the greatest amount during autumn leaf drop. The current system for handling these materials is to transport them to Cedar Grove where they are composted; to maintain planting beds and lawns Grounds Management applies compost, which is ironically purchased back from Cedar Grove. Transportation of these materials results in unnecessary carbon emissions, use of fossil fuels, and additional costs.An in-house composting program would address these issues, but the site best suited to accommodate this operation requires modification in order to meet both operational and regulatory needs. This site would also serve as a staging area for recycled timber and wood chip mulch from campus tree pruning. The current site where green waste is accumulated and disposed of could be modified to accommodate a permit exempt composting site. This would involve grading and paving the site to properly address moisture and runoff concerns, constructing bins to house the composting operation, and installing a fence around the site to maintain a secure and uncontaminated environment.
Information about sustainable practices will be incorporated into the Grounds Management website presence, which will include details about our composting program, advice on composting practices, as well as links to composting resources.
Grounds managment will work with organizations such as SEED, a UW Landscape and Architecture graduate student, the UW Grounds IMP & Sustainability coordinator, and a UW Design student.