Denison University’s composting program was spearheaded in 2006 as part of a class project by then-first year student, Meredith Atwood (2009). She conducted a pilot project that measured how much pre-consumer food waste generated by Denison’s dining halls every day could be composted.
Additionally, she publicized the need for a composting program at Denison through pamphlets and articles in student publications and eventually managed to gain the assistance of the Facilities Department to start a permanent composting program at Denison University. As a result of these efforts, in the fall of 2007, Denison University constructed a composting facility on its grounds, directly behind the Denison University Physical Plant.
Initially, all pre-consumer food waste from the dining halls – except those which would take too long to be composted (meat, dairy, liquids and acidic fruits) – was collected and placed in the composting unit along with leaves and other organic yard waste material, instead of being thrown in the garbage. Now, usable compost is created every few months and is used as fertilizer on the campus grounds in place of commercial fertilizer and as a soil amendment in the new Campus Community Garden.
- In 2009-2010, student Juan Pablo Sarmiento (2013), conducted another study on post-consumer food waste generated in the dining halls. Through his efforts, Denison modified its composting program to include both pre and post-consumer food waste.
- In 2011-2012, new, larger composting bins were constructed out of recycled material from campus and then placed in both Curtis and Huffman Dining halls. Green Team, a student run organization focusing on sustainability, painted the bins in early 2012.
- Denison has recently expanded its food-composting program to include all Sunset and Brownstone senior apartments, with hopes of including other dorms in the coming years.
Denison's facilities can be utilized for composting the following post-consumer waste:
Waste to leave out, (as they take too long to compost):
- Dairy products