Fort Lewis College

Sector: Education
Equipment: A900 Rocket Composter

The backstory

Fort Lewis College – located in Durango, Colorado – is a 247-acre public liberal arts college, first established in 1911.

As well as boasting an interesting history – which saw the site start out as a military fort – the college is also well known for its green credentials. The U.S. Green Building Council even awarded the institution’s student union ‘gold status’ for its commitment to sustainability.

From projects that aim to bring sustainable energy to low-income communities to beekeeping, the college is passionate about the environment and building a better future for the next generations. It also features an on-campus garden, enabling students to gain experience in sustainable agriculture and food systems.

‘Green’ procurement is at the forefront of the college’s purchasing agenda – using Green Seal and EcoLogo-certified papers and janitorial products – and there are recycling stations throughout the campus.

Everything Fort Lewis does has our planet’s health and future in mind, and the college wanted to expand this even further…

The challenge

With over 3,800 undergraduates enrolled at the college – many of whom visit the campus dining hall for lunch on a daily basis – the site generated 10,000lbs of food waste every year.

And in order to implement a more circular – less linear – waste management mode, Fort Lewis wanted to divert its food waste from being landfilled, educate students about the value of composting, and create a resource for use in the campus gardens.

It therefore sought a solution that would align with its environmental ethos.

The solution

After contacting our American distributor, Food Waste Experts, for the best solution, we recommended an A900 Rocket Composter as the best machine to help the institution close the loop on the premises.

Overseen and managed by the college’s specialist Environmental Centre, it now converts its annual food wastage into nutrient-rich garden soil, in just 14 days. Four students are responsible for the day-to-day running of the equipment too – from compost output, storage, and monitoring temperatures – while catering firm, Sodexo, fills up the composter. The resulting resource is utilised in the campus garden, which produces 1,000lbs of fresh produce each year.

By installing food waste recycling equipment in the grounds, this has not only significantly reduced the costs associated with off-site disposal, but it has also improved the campus’s carbon footprint – reducing the number of collection vehicles on the road.

The in-vessel composting equipment is also used as a valuable learning tool too, with students being able to learn and develop skills related to food waste diversion and composting management. The institution is also subscribed to a local composting service – enabling it to expand its food waste composting efforts even further across the campus.

A fantastic example of the education sector closing the food waste recycling loop on site!