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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Campus dirty dealings

Rodney Haas / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Polly Juang (Asian) Alex Harris, Rachel Maxwell (blonde) Are members of Students for Sustainability who are looking recycle compost
Rodney Haas
Rodney Haas / Arizona Daily Wildcat Polly Juang (Asian) Alex Harris, Rachel Maxwell (blonde) Are members of Students for Sustainability who are looking recycle compost

When Rachel Maxwell started with Compost Go-Live she didn’t know much about the dirty business of composting.

Over the course of the semester, the environmental sciences junior learned about different types of composting, including how to bag and sell it, and wrote her first business proposal.

Compost Go-Live is a Students for Sustainability team that is working to compost food waste from the Student Union Memorial Center restaurants and plant waste from around campus.

After doing a pilot project over the summer and prepping during this semester, the group is ready to hire students and begin composting on a regular basis.

Maxwell is excited to learn new skills next semester, like driving a tractor.

The Compost Go-Live interns will be trained on caring for the compost so they will be able to help out when needed.

The group is hiring four students to do manual labor such as turning and watering the compost and transporting it to the Controlled Environment Agriculture Center. While students do not need composting experience, a clean driving record is required.

Being focused on trash isn’t always the most glamorous interest.

“”My boyfriend tends to make fun of me a lot,”” Maxwell said, noting that one time her boyfriend went with her to test the compost and he was nervous the car would reek of trash. Maxwell said he was surprised when the drive was pleasant.

“”The compost does not smell like trash. A lot of people have that misconception. It smells like dirt and it smells really good actually,”” said Polly Juang, Compost Go-Live co-manager and engineering management senior.

Juang said when she joined the team she didn’t really know what compost was, but now she is “”really into it”” and has enjoyed the bonding experience with fellow interns.

Maxwell says her parents are surprised at her involvement with sustainability because of the difference between UA’s approach to sustainability and her sister’s school, Arizona State University.

“”Their (ASU’s) sustainability program isn’t funded by students. It’s funded by actual outside private sources and their sustainability program started from faculty. So it’s kind of a different way that we’ve gone about it,”” Maxwell said.

Compost Go-Live has garnered attention both on and off campus. Some off-campus groups interested in using the compost are Whole Foods, Home Depot and Wal-Mart.

There are 2,000 palm trees on campus that get trimmed twice a year, a chore that is an example of the green waste Facilities Management Director Chris Kopach is excited to incorporate into the project. By turning green waste into compost, Facilities Management can avoid the fee to take the waste to a landfill. Kopach is also interested in using the compost for the vegetation around campus.

Right now Compost Go-Live is collecting food waste from all of the Student Union Memorial Center restaurants except for Burger King, Panda Express and Papa John’s.

They did not ask those restaurants because they wouldn’t have waste that would be applicable and are not owned by the UA.

The group is meeting today to see about collecting food waste from University Medical Center.

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