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TAKE A LOOK Top Doctors Agree. CBD Oil Is The NewWonder Drug Carry a mini drone in your pocket and useit a million different ways: from taking The Most Talked About Weight LossProduct Is Finally Here! A powerful Fat Do You Qualify for Disability Chuck Norris Kicks Found Guilty, ReceivesLengthy Sentence Doc Approved Solution Works WondersWith Diabetic Neuropathy - Here's Why Man Who Predicted Trump Has Bad Newsfor 2020 Turns your basic home appliances intosmart devices with this simple universal Heat Your Home for a Fraction of theUsual Costs, Thanks to This Invention Brilliant Trick Melts Belly Fat Overnight,Do This Tonight!Powered byHome / mposting-by-percent/article 193142bd-9307-53b1-aabcbdc8df2d3fd7.htmlTOP STORYWKU boosts composting by 1,000 percentBy CAROLINE EGGERS ceggers@bgdailynews.com Apr 5, 2019

In a single year, Western Kentucky University transformed its composting program fromaccepting 30,000 pounds of food waste to collecting 300,000 pounds.“That’s a thousand percent increase,” said Elizabeth Gafford, WKU resources coordinator.“It’s been a really successful initiative. Reducing the amount of waste going to landfills by300,000 pounds is incredible.”In 2014, WKU initiated food composting by collecting scraps from the Fresh Food Co. Inlate 2017, a Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet grant allowed the university toClay Mouser of Bardstown, Ky., uses a hose to empty a bin of composting food taken from campus onexpand food collection to all 15 dining locations on campus – and to purchase a RotoTuesday, April 2, 2019, at the WKU Ag Farm. (Austin Anthony/photo@bgdailynews.com)Screen,a giant machine that essentially filters the organic material from items such asAustin Anthonyforks, plates and cups.“This machine is what sent us to the next level,” WKU agriculture technician and compostmaster Joey Reynolds said.Monday through Friday, WKU Facilities employees or students collect extra food from allcampus dining locations in special, apple-green trash bins and drive to the WKU Farm offNashville Road in a big truck, which includes a mechanical lowering device since the 35gallon bins can weigh several hundred pounds. “The one from Chili’s weighs a lot,”Reynolds said.Bu

The students roll the bins onto another mechanical device called a cart tipper, which liftsthe bins into a container. Before the expansion, the container didn’t need to be emptiedeven once a week. Now, it has to be changed at least every other day – as nearly 5,000pounds of food can be dropped off in a single day. (The stench isn’t stomach-curling.Unless the food has been sitting in the hot sun for multiple days, “the smell isn’t near asbad as you’d think,” Reynolds said.)Cable Wilson, a WKU junior studying finance, is one of the students who transportscompost. He previously worked in the university’s surplus development office, whichorganizes WKU’s public auctions of old office equipment and furniture, before beingtransferred to composting.“I enjoy it. It’s more active,” he said. “You get to get out, drive the trucks and come out tothe farm.”Clay Mouser, a sophomore studying business, has been composting for about a year andconsiders the soil proceeds the main benefit – 75 percent of funds generated from mulchand compost sales at the farm fund student scholarships for students in the WKUAgriculture Department. But it’s not his favorite job.“It’s OK, it’s just work,” he said.After transporting all of the food into the dumpster, the students wash out the bins andreload them onto the truck.Reynolds, who helped compost leaves as a WKU student in the late 1990s, takes over fromthere. He transports the dumpster onto a blacktop – which he said has been outgrown atthis point – in a pile of used sawdust from the WKU L.D. Brown Ag Expo Center and cowmanure from the WKU dairy and beef herds.Then he mixes and mixes. After about a month of mixing, he creates a new pile with thefood, sawdust and manure and adds in leaf compost from the city of Bowling Green.From there, it’s just a matter of making sure the temperatures remain between 130 and

160 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure that beneficial bacteria grows and nitrogen is able tobreak down carbon.“We just speed Mother Nature up,” Reynolds said. “I like it, but it can be pretty boring.”The final step involves running the new soil through the Roto-Screen to get the finalproduct for market. “To sell it, it has to be clean,” Reynolds said.To magnify the benefits of the program, Reynolds said the university will need tostreamline the process of selling the nutrient-dense soil. (Hours and prices can be foundat wku.edu/agriculture/mulch.)The program would also benefit from a full-time student composter, as Reynolds’previous student worker graduated last year.“It’s a lot to do by myself,” Reynolds said.The Environmental Protection Agency lists reducing food waste at the source as the mostpreferable method of diverting organic materials from the landfill. The second preferablemethod is feeding the hungry – WKU’s Food Recovery program actually does transportsafe, edible food from several campus dining locations and delivers it to area nonprofits.But even with vigorous food waste reduction efforts, there will always be inedible foodremains, and composting provides numerous benefits.

For one, compost remediates soils contaminated by hazardous waste. The healthier soilhelps reduce air pollution, enhance water retention, provides carbon sequestration,promotes higher agricultural crop yields and can aid with reforestation, wetlandsrestoration and habitat revitalization efforts, according to the EPA.In Bowling Green, Dr. Martin Stone recognizes this benefit. The Baker Arboretumreceives several bins each week from campus, and runs the compost through a “digester.”Food goes in one end, the machine rotates the food, and compost comes out the otherside.“We’re literally converting compost into soil we use at the Baker Arboretum,” said Stone,Baker Arboretum director and WKU horticulture professor.The other key benefit is diverting waste from the landfill. In 2015, the U.S. produced morethan 39 million tons of food waste but diverted only about 5 percent from landfills,according to the EPA.That’s why Reynolds wholeheartedly believes in the work.“We try to be an example of what to do,” Reynolds said. “The more you can divert, thebetter off we’ll be in the long run.”– Follow reporter Caroline Eggers on Twitter @eggersdailynews or visit bgdailynews.com.Caroline EggersNews reporter.RECOMMENDED

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