Students of the Integrated Environmental Planning Technology program (IEP) at Selkirk College have received $5,000 from the City of Castlegar to help reduce waste through a composting solution at the Castlegar Campus.
Second year IEP students Brie Haley, Candice Benner, Daris Piper and Odin Lewis were inspired by a lecture given by Al Gore-trained presenter and Olympic speed skater Ingrid Liepa. Ingrid visited Selkirk College’s Castlegar Campus in December, 2008 to talk about how climate change is expected to impact the West Kootenay region.
“We spoke with Ingrid after the presentation to get a sense of what we could do in our own community,” explained IEP student Brie Haley. “We decided that composting would be an ideal way to reduce waste at the Castlegar Campus and a good pilot project as well.”
Shortly after the presentation, the students conducted a waste audit at the Kekuli House Residence on Castlegar Campus to get a rough idea of how much waste was being generated. The research showed that 100 people produced ten kilograms of waste every three days which could have been composted, if the means were in place to do so.
Once the waste data was collected, the students were presented with the challenge of finding a suitable composting mechanism that would meet the requirements of the Castlegar Campus and its Kekuli House residents.
“Composting on this scale is different than composting individually,” explained Brie. “We had to take everything into consideration – size, safety, esthetics, maintenance, odor control - even the wildlife in the area had an impact on our decision making process.”
The students have decided to raise funds and purchase an “Earth Tub” which is designed specifically for on-site composting of food-wastes. The Earth Tub is a fully enclosed composting vessel which features power mixing, compost aeration, and biofiltration of all process air. The self-contained unit is ideal for composting at schools, colleges, restaurants, hospitals and supermarkets and has a price tag of approximately $15,000.
In support of the initiative, the students have formed a composting club through the Selkirk College Student Union (SCSU). The club is provided with $250 per semester from the SCSU, which is very helpful for gaining support from other students and raising the profile of the project.
The City of Castlegar has also donated $5,000 towards the unit. “We certainly have a long way to go in terms of funding,” said Brie. “But I am confident that by writing grants and proposals to other organizations, we can bring them on board as partners in this valuable environmental project. The potential for something like this is really huge and we are hoping to launch it in the fall of 2009.”
Selkirk College’s Environmental Sustainability Committee has a mandate for all of its campuses to “go green” by 2010. It continues to research opportunities and support efforts to meet the goals of campus-wide sustainability initiatives.
For more information on the composting pilot project at Selkirk College, contact Brie Hailey via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
First published on July 06, 2009