Student-run composting program simply turns waste to food: ‘Nothing else like it’

Goshen College junior Natasha Weisenbeck, a public relations major from Clifton, Ill., is a student volunteer on the composting team. At the end of every day, a student volunteer spends 15 minutes collecting receptacles in the dining hall with all the food waste and dumping the contents into the campus compost bin, a large insulated wooden box located behind the dining hall dumpsters. Woodchips are added which introduces bacteria to the food, preventing odors and helping break up the pile.

On a typical weekday during the semester, about 75 to 100 pounds of food waste is produced in the college’s dining hall. Because of student commitment and ingenuity, that waste is now turned into compost, which is used as a natural fertilizer in a small garden, eventually producing vegetables and herbs for meals to be served to students.