Reducing Organic Waste in Landfills

Problem Title

Reducing Organic Waste in Landfills

Scientific Title

Adaptability of the Composting Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst

Student: 
Timothy Shea
Major(s): 
Natural Resources Conservation
iCons Concentration: 
Renewable Energy
iCons Class Year: 
Class of 2017
Executive Summary 

Food waste and other organic matter can be diverted from landfills and made into fertilizer through the process of composting. According to Sustainable UMass, the university composts over 1,400 tons of waste each year, but this figure only accounts for items that are placed in the correct bins. The goal of this project is to reduce the amount of organic waste in landfills by suggesting strategies to improve the university’s composting rate. Surveys were distributed to campus members to assess their knowledge of composting practices, the dining halls were monitored to figure out the amount of food waste consumers produce, and a map of compost bins on campus was created to determine accessibility of the program. Refining the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s composting program will lead to a more sustainable campus and provide a model for other initiatives.

Problem Keywords: 
environmental sustainability
compost
Scientific Keywords: 
large-scale waste disposal systems