Monday September 01, 2014

TRU takes up composting pilot project

Keith Anderson

James Gordon stands next to the state-of-the-art Jora Kompost in the TRU Culinary Arts Building.

Thompson Rivers University is about to embark on a six-month effort to encourage students, faculty and the community to recycle and reduce waste.

"We look for opportunities to educate and inform our public about good, environmental practices and, of course, composting is one of those," said James Gordon, programs and research co-ordinator for TRU's office of environment and sustainability.

A Jora Kompost 5100 in-vessel composter has been installed in the lobby of the Culinary Arts Building with 20 large, green bins and 20 small compost bins that will be distributed around campus.

The content of these bins will feed the Jora, which can turn basic kitchen scraps into compost within four to six weeks. Gordon said the difference between it and a basic backyard composter is the introduction of regular oxygen.

"Which, in theory, everyone should do with their composter to manage it properly," he said.

Composting requires four ingredients: kitchen scraps, a carbon source — in this case wood pellets — oxygen and time. Gordon said the composter uses all these in a managed process that quickly turns out usable compost.

"It's a new technology," he said. "Compost is a valuable resource."

Being food based, the compost is nutrient rich and good for growing food. Gordon said the horticulture department and TRU's grounds crew will use some of the compost.

"We might actually sell some of it to recoup some of our costs," he said.

A TRU press release states the composter can handle the kitchen waste of 100 households at two to three people per household and reduce waste up to 274 kilograms a week.

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