A new student-lead collaboration between Northern Arizona University (NAU) and food service company Sodexo is leading to high-volume recycling of the school’s food waste.
The program kicked into gear with the acquisition of machines that grind and dehydrate food waste from the school’s dining services into an easily compostable form. Through a waste audit, students discovered that the school’s dining halls and other food service facilities generate up to 1,500 pounds of food waste each day. Once those scraps have been composted, school landscaping crews add it to the on-campus landscaping.
“The new system is an exciting venture for NAU and Sodexo as we work together to continually strive for advances in the sustainability of our dining operations,” NAU Executive Director of Campus Services and Activities Thomas Eberly said. “We hope that this system will pave the way for further waste reduction initiatives by working with students to create solutions that help meet university goals. And, if in the process, we can provide a case study for other universities looking to invest in similar systems, we’ve accomplished significant progress in our journey toward creating a culture of sustainability at NAU and beyond.”
The school also diverts and tracks its organic waste through the Environmental Protection Agency’s Food Recovery Challenge and helps move food to food banks through the Food Recovery Network.
NAU’s Green Fund contributed $60,000 to help make this project a reality.