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Feb. 24, 2015
By Erin Dillon, media relations assistant
For the third time in four years the Missouri State Recycling Program has recognized Northwest Missouri State University as a leader in recycling and sustainability efforts with the 2014 Missouri State Recycling Program Annual Award.
State Recycling Coordinator Rob Didriksen presented the award Tuesday to Northwest administrators and the University’s hardscape and recycling team in recognition of its food service organics composting program.
“Every time this team has faced a challenge they have risen to the occasion,” said John Viau, sustainability coordinator for Northwest. “They consistently show, through hard work and innovation, that if it needs doing and it’s not in the budget, you can still accomplish a lot. The compost program has relied heavily on repurposed equipment the University already owned, and that’s another reason this effort deserves state recognition.”
Northwest successfully diverted 46 percent of overall waste from the landfill in 2014 through its composting program by composting 322,000 pounds of organics, saving the University $7,400 in landfill expenses.
The composting program began in 2011 when Northwest Facility Services was approached by students to address the large amount of food waste being sent to the landfill. The solution was composting, and the challenge for the team was to establish outside food scrap storage and transportation to Northwest’s research orchard for processing. Facility services staff modified a Dumpster and constructed a cart tipper for the dining staff, using scrap metal and salvaged equipment from the University’s R.T. Wright Farm. Once collected and transported, the composting process begins by mixing the food scraps with horse bedding from the rodeo arena and yard waste from the Missouri Arboretum.
During 2015, Northwest will continue efforts to improve its waste collection, through a redesigned recycling and compost infrastructure in the J.W. Jones Student Union. Matched with internal funding support, the University’s recycling revenue will be used to purchase a commercial compost sifter. The topsoil screener will be used to produce high-quality finished compost that can be used throughout the Arboretum. The compost sifter will also be used to improve the handling of excavation backfill, rock and mulch in support of landscape, hardscape and other facility operations.
Each year, the state recycling program accepts nominations for the Annual Recycling Award. Employees, departments or agencies are eligible to be nominated for outstanding contributions made in the areas of recycling collection, waste reduction and recycled content procurement.
Northwest received the Annual Recycling Award in 2011 for its efforts to establish a community recycling project with the city of Maryville that extended Northwest’s glass and paper recycling program to local residents and in 2013 for its initiative to repurpose used materials to enhance its recycling operations and composting program.
Northwest’s tradition of sustainability and recycling dates back to 1982 when the University established a biomass energy system utilizing wood chips under then-President Dr. B.D. Owens. During the 1990s, Northwest enhanced its energy program by adding discarded newspaper, corrugated and cardboard boxes, magazines and other clean paper products to its alternative fuel processes. In 2001, Northwest began using animal waste from its farm to create a virtually odor-free pellet that is burned as fuel. Additionally, Northwest recycles plastic, aluminum, glass, copper, brass and steel it collects on campus.
Additionally, Northwest has been recognized as one of the nation’s top energy-reducing schools based on results of the 2013 Campus Conservation Nationals.
For more information about recycling and sustainability at Northwest, click here.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468