The University is considering spending £20,000 on a ‘Rocket’ automatic composting machine for waste.
The machine would be able to process all types of food waste, including bones and cooked waste as well as raw food and green waste and produces low grade young compost “perfect for the extensive grounds of the campus,” according to Phoebe Cullingworth, Chair of York’s People and Planet committee and YUSU Environment and Ethics Officer.
It would also avoid the University’s current system of disposing of food from residential accommodation as general waste and discarding it in landfill sites.
The project has the support of YUSU, with a motion having passed in the last few months about the improvement of food waste on campus in which 900 students voted in support of the project.
The proposal, put forward by the People and Planet committee for the composter, suggested that the project appealed to the University because of its ability to remedy York’s low position on the Green League; an award-winning league table that ranks all UK universities according to their commitment to reducing their environmental impacts.
Nouse reported on the University’s poor position last year as it is currently ranked 83rd out of 142 universities for its environment and ethics performance and has a high carbon foot print.
By introducing the compost bins it would raise York’s reputation amongst other institutions of Higher Education and for fill the University’s 2009-10 plan to “take proactive measures to minimize environmental impacts and, wherever possible, enhance the environment.”
However the University is not willing to “spend any extra costs on employing someone to maintain the collection scheme,” as the YUSU Environment and Ethics Officer stated.
This role is essential for the project to succeed as it enables collection bins round campus to be taken and emptied in to the central composter machine.
A current possibility is to incorporate students from the Environmental Science departments in maintaining the compost collections or Environment and Ethics reps from each college around campus.