Save your food scraps, block some greenhouse gases!

If you toss your leftover vegetable peelings and apple cores because you don’t have a garden, reconsider your stance.

Every week, I make my way to the University Farm at La Harpe and Osteopathy with my odor-sealed box of food waste, and I drop my delicious-looking food nippings in a bin far south side on the farm. Thus, my trash literally becomes another man’s (or woman’s) treasure.

I started saving my food for compost last semester, when I lived in the dorms. One day, I just magically realized that if I simply bought a plastic container and saved my apple cores and banana peels, then I would redirect that small amount from becoming landfill waste. Leaving this wonderful organic material to rot in a barren landfill leads to the release of toxic gases (especially methane, which traps 20 times more greenhouse gases than CO2, according to this CNN article). This removes food waste from a natural and dynamic system that saves the farm some fertilizer in the process. I rent a small place off campus and cannot use compost since I have no garden, so the University Farm provides a wonderful outlet for me.

To dump my scraps, I have a sturdy, odor-proof (quite important) plastic container I bought at HyVee, but I know that many other University Farm composters with bigger houses and more roommates invest in a larger container.

You can also support the Compost Project on campus by eating in Ryle hall if you have a meal plan, since for about half the week a member from the compost crew is there to scrapeyour plate for University compost! If you eat in the SUB, take just a moment to empty your waste into the compost bins that are sometimes available.

You can compost pretty much anything that has been alive, including even human hair and nail clippings. But you CANNOT compost meat or dairy products (egg shells, but no eggs).

However, cleaning your plate is probably the most environmentally friendly solution of all. Americans waste A LOT of food—a fourth of it, to be exact. That’s 25.9 million tons. That’s a lot of landfill space and a lot of methane we don’t need.

Check out these links for more details on what you can and cannot compost.

Photo provided by


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Nathan Beck on March 10, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    I was just curious about the exact location of the compost bin at the farm. I went out there today but couldn’t find it! Thanks.


  2. Posted by michellegm15 on March 11, 2010 at 4:31 am

    For sure. If you go out to the farm, go all the way down that main road then go left down a dirt road all the way to the end where there’s a big concrete structure. You go past the cows if it helps.


  3. […] what YOU think. And don’t forget to drop it in the compost pile at West Campus Suites or at the University Farm when you’re […]


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