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Report
The Food Waste Problem…
Champaign-Urbana
National Situation


The US generates approximately 34 million tons of food waste annually.

Food waste accounts for up to 14% of landfill contents, and is the largest
component of municipal solid waste.

Methane, a greenhouse gas emitted from rotten food waste, is 21 times
more harmful than CO2 when it comes to Global Warming.

Majority of the US population fails to understand the benefits of recycling.

Residential and commercial sectors in the
Champaign/Urbana area, generate
approximately 12 – 13 thousand tons of
food waste per year.

University Dining halls in
Champaign/Urbana throw away an average
of 65 bags of food waste (or 10,896
pounds of food) per year.

A single student produces an average of
1,280 pounds of food waste per academic
year.
In 2010, only 3% of food waste was recycled, leaving 97 % (33 million
tons) that was sent to the landfills, thus polluting the environment.
http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/materials/organics/food/fd-basic.htm
http://infohouse.p2ric.org/ref/06/05483.pdf
http://www.dailyillini.com/index.php/article/2010/02/going_trayless_reduces_f
ood_waste_in_dining_halls
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We aim to inspire people to build a greener living community.
We plan to create an environmentally sustainable initiative by establishing a
food waste recycling system, a system that effectively and efficiently utilizes
limited resources.
We intend to achieve our mission by starting a composting project that
addresses environmental, educational, and entrepreneurial aspects.
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Our Solution
Short-term Goal:
Long-term Goal:

Recycle food waste collected from three agricultural
fraternities by means of vermicomposting.

Utilize the compost fertilizer on the Sustainable
Student Farm.

Set up a food waste recycling system in
Champaign/Urbana in order to limit the
quantity of wasted resources and to build a
sustainable community.
Who’s Involved?

Short-term:



Agricultural fraternities: Alpha Gamma Rho, Naborhouse and Farmhouse.
Us! We have taken steps to involve University & Community volunteers in aiding our initiative.
Long-term:

The Greek System: The University of Illinois has the largest Greek system nationwide with 6,850
members in 59 Fraternities and 36 sororities. Each sorority or fraternity has its own house and chef.


University dining halls: There are 7 major dining halls serving 8,550 students per day.
Champaign-Urbana community: including restaurants, high schools and households in ChampaignUrbana.
Where?

Sustainable Student Farm:

Sustainable Student Farm is funded by the University of Illinois. It provides food for university dining
halls, but it is currently purchasing fertilizers from outside sources.

We have been granted access to this student farm, as we proceed throughout this initiative.
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What is Composting?

Composting is a biological process in which organic matters are decomposed into soil-like material called compost
fertilizer. This process helps transform problematic food waste materials into a valuable product that is recycled back
into the land to avoid soil depletion[1]. Additionally, compost fertilizer is a natural and organic approach to nourishing
the land compared to chemical fertilizers.

Types of Composting:


Traditional Composting: Large-scale process that requires stockpiling of raw materials and utilizing microorganisms to accelerate the decomposition process.

Vermicomposting: Process that utilizes composting worms (i.e. red worms) as decomposition accelerators. We
will employ this composting method for purposes of ease and efficiency.
The chart below will reference few of the many advantages for using vermicomposting as opposed to the traditional
stockpile composting method…
Stockpile Composting vs Vermicomposting
Stockpile Composting
Vermicomposting
Duration
3-4 months
2 months
Facility requirement
Requires heavy machinery usage
High tunnel with worm bed, worms
Technical requirement
Appropriate Carbon-Nitrogen ratio,
temperature monitor, aerobic
environment
Basic temperature monitor
Management
Daily stockpile turnover
Weekly separation of worms
Place and risk
Outdoors, may attract pests
Indoors, free from pests
Environmental risk
Unpleasant odor if poorly managed
Free of odor
[1] On-Farm Composting Handbook by by Robert Rynk, George B. Willson and Maaten Van de Kamp
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Detailed Plan
Collect
Participating fraternities will compile food waste
(approximately 800 pounds per week). Fraternity
members are responsible for dropping off waste bins at
the Sustainable Student Farm every week.
Dump
After drop off, volunteers will dump the food waste
into the worm beds within the high tunnel and wash the
empty bins for future use. This process will be repeated
for other fraternities involved with the project.
Exchange
Each fraternity will schedule a drop off time to deliver its
food waste. During drop off, volunteers will be standing
by, waiting to receive the full compost bins and exchange
them for clean ones.
Mix
Once in the worm bed, the food waste will be mixed with
bulking material (for pest control and acceleration of the
composting process). The appropriate amount of red
worms will also be added into the ingredients as organic
decomposers.
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Detailed Plan Cont’d
.
Separate
When the first pile has been decomposed into
fertilizers, bi-weekly Volunteer Days will be scheduled
for students to help separate worms from compost
fertilizer. The worms will then be recycled back into the
high tunnel for future use. The fertilizer will be used on
the Sustainable Student Farm.
Continuing Process
New piles will replace the vacant spots when old piles are
removed, so that the whole process is continuous.
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Ernst & Young Pillars
Environment
Create a greener living community by establishing an efficient food waste recycling system:
 Reduce the amount of food waste in the community landfill:
• Our project (starting from three fraternities) will reduce at least 15,600 pounds per year.[1]
 Reuse resources by composting food waste into organic fertilizers:
• Compost fertilizer is effective in improving growth and yield of different field crops,
vegetables, flowers, and fruit crops.
e.g. The application of vermicompost gave higher germination (93%) of mung bean
compared to the control (84%)[2].
Recycle the nutrients in the food waste back to soil to reduce soil depletion:
•
•
Plants absorb nutrients that are removed from soil but not replaced, which causes soil
depletion.
Compost fertilizer returns valuable nutrients back to soil so as to alleviate soil depletion.
[1] Calculated by 300lb./week x 52 weeks/year =15,600 lb./year
[2] Reference: “Vermicomposting: Recycling Wastes into Valuable Organic Fertilizer” by Nagavallemma KP, Wani SP, Stephane Lacroix, Padmaja VV, Vineela C, Babu Rao M and
Sahrawat KL.
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Ernst & Young Pillars
Education
Educate both volunteers involved and students on campus through several related activities:
 Awareness of environmental sustainability:
•
•
Educate students at the University of Illinois about the problem of soil depletion through
various types of information media, such as websites on social networking sites and posters in
dining halls.
Students at the University of Illinois will become aware of the amount of food waste generated
every day, which compels them to conserve food in their daily meals.
 Knowledge about vermicomposting:
•
•
Invite students to visit the composting site to learn about the process of vermicomposting,
which may be especially helpful to students from the College of Agricultural Consumer and
Environmental Sciences (ACES).
Provide research professors in the College of ACES with information and experimental data
about the process of vermicomposting.
 Team work & hands-on experience:
•
•
Volunteers from different organizations will learn to coordinate with each other to ensure the
project operates smoothly.
Volunteers will gain valuable experience by responsibly keeping daily records, monitoring
temperature and moisture level in the high tunnel, and separating worms from mature
fertilizer etc.
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Ernst & Young Pillars
Entrepreneur
We will send our fertilizer for testing in order to confirm its usefulness for aftermarket activites:
 Sell the fertilizer to farmers in all fields including agricultural, horticultural, and ornamental
around Champaign-Urbana area.[1]
 Pricing of fertilizer:
•
Average Price of organic fertilizer is around $4 / lb.
•
Sell the fertilizer for less than the market price to attract potential customers.
 Process:
•
Test the quality of fertilizer in A&L Great Lakes Laboratories in Indiana.
•
Reach out to potential consumers in the farmers’ market.
•
Farmers can come to Sustainable Student Farm to buy fertilizer.
[1] Vermicomposting: Recycling Wastes into Valuable Organic Fertilizer by Nagavallemma KP, Wani SP, Stephane Lacroix, Padmaja VV, Vineela C, Babu Rao M and Sahrawat KL.
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Supporters & Contacts
Agricultural Fraternities:



Alpha Gamma Rho: president Justin Wassmann, [email protected]
Naborhouse: president Ryan Dewerff, [email protected]
Farmhouse: president Nick Urish, [email protected]
Technical Support:



Sustainable Student Farm:
 Mr. Zach Grant, Student Farm Coordinator
College of ACES, Department of Natural Resources and
Environmental Sciences:
 Michelle Wander, Associate Professor, Director of Agroecology and
Sustainable Agriculture Program
 Richard Mulvaney, Professor. Specializing in Soil Science and
Conservation.
Illinois Sustainable Technology Center:
 Dr. Todd Rusk, Researcher
Volunteers:



Freshman Honors Society Phi Eta Sigma
Sustainable Student Farm
Students in the College ACES
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Timeline
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Elements & Materials
Our Purchases
Provided by the
Sustainable Student Farm
High Tunnel: provides a temperature
regulated environment which will be protected
from rough weather conditions1
Land
Water
Worms: the key component of vermicomposting; they speed up the decomposition
process of the food waste2
Electricity
Bins: containers for waste food3
Ground & Compost Covers: provides a layer of
insulation between the earth and compost.
Allows maintenance of temperature4
Fraternity Involvement
Fans: to keep temperature of worm beds cool
during summer season5
Food Waste
Transport
Labor
Collected and
donated by
agriculture
fraternities
Vehicles
provided by
fraternity
members
Volunteers
from fraternities
and campus
community
Thermometers: to monitor temperature of
worm beds6
Gas: Reimbursement for cost spent on gas by
fraternity members
Misc.: Fertilizer testing7 and additional labor at
$10/hour if needed (at most 10 hours/week).
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
ALTAS Manufacturing Inc. 30’ × 72’ High Tunnel Package; Atlas Catalogs.http://www.atlasgreenhouse.com/index.php
Red Worms 4 Sale; http://www.redworms4sale.com/store/red-worms/
Rural King; http://www.ruralking.com/trash-container-roto-tuff-60gal.html?utm_medium=google&utm_source=cse&cvsfa=1908&cvsfe=2&cvsfhu=303530353530363130
CV Compost; http://www.cvcompost.com/?p=quote
(5)
(6)
(7)
Poly-Tex Inc.; http://poly-tex.com/pages/accessories/addOns/ventsystem/exhaustfans.html
Vermiculture Canada; http://www.vermiculture.ca/store/index.php?act=viewProd&productId=87
A & L Great Lakes Laboratories; http://www.algreatlakes.com/lab_agr_com.php
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Our Budget
Original Sustainable Life:
First Semester Expenses
Donated Items
Land…........…………………………………………………….0
Water…………………………………………………………….0
Labor………..............................................................0
Electricity……………………………………………………....0
One-Time Costs
High Tunnel……………………..………………………4,200
Composting Cover……………..…...........................470
Ground Cover………………………………………….……90
Worms…………………………………………………....2,000
Composting Bins…………………………………..….....300
Thermometers………….………………………............100
Fans………………………………………….……………..1,300
Variable Costs
Gas ………………………………….………………………….55
Misc*………………..………………………….……....…1,000
TOTAL
$9515
3-4 years*
*Our original $10,000 grant will sustain our
project for 3-4 years. We will continuously
look for fundraising opportunities in order to
keep our composting initiative a success for
many years thereafter!
When red worms double every three
months… how much will we need?
Research shows that one pound of red worms can eat
½ pound of food every day:
(ln2×4z)/180×∫600 2 (t/90)×(60–t)dt+4z/2=2400
Z= 70 lbs.
Where Z is the number of worms to order and t is
the number of days after the project starts.
Considering that young hatchlings will take time to
mature, we decided to order 100 lbs of worms, which
will reproduce more than enough worms for 2
months after the project starts. Mr. Grant will feed the
worms with farm wastes before the project starts.
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Executive Summary
An enormous amount of food waste is generated in the Champaign-Urbana community each
day. Currently the area does not have an appropriate recycling system to transform these wasted
resources into useful materials.
We aim to create value out of food waste by starting Small Red Worms, Big Green Chambana
with three agricultural fraternities. With the help of supporters, our project has potential to grow
into an institutionalized recycling system, allowing us to mitigate the food waste problem in the
greater Champaign-Urbana community in the long run.
Our project will not only improve the environmental sustainability in Champaign-Urbana area,
but also provide educational value by raising awareness of recycling and managing waste. In the
long run, our project will be financially self-sustained through the sale of fertilizers.
We look forward to your support for this project.
Small Red Worms, Big Green Chambana Contact Info…
NAME
EMAIL
MAJOR
GRADUATION YEAR
Yiyun (Ariel) Jin
[email protected]
Accounting
Sophomore
Jeane Natalia Lie
[email protected]
Undecided
Freshman
[email protected]
Accounting
Junior
[email protected]
Accounting
Junior
[email protected]
Accounting
Sophomore
Pei Zou
Nadia (Nga) Le
Jessica Chang
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