Recycling and Composting
As soon as Cal Poly had committed to pursuing this project, it reached out to neighboring California Men's Colony and the City and County of San Luis Obispo to make them aware that they had similar opportunities through the RES-BCT program. The County and CMC are now proceeding with their own solar projects, and the City has committed to carbon neutrality by 2035 and voted to join the Monterey Bay Community Power CCA. At Cal Poly's second annual campus wide Sustainability Charrette - part of 2017 Earth Week events - Lean Process Improvement and facilitated Liberating Structures activities were used to engage a broad cross section of faculty, sta, and student stakeholders to brainstorm ways to maximize the academic value of the solar farm and solar laboratory. Attendees identified potential stakeholders, developed strategic goals and discreet initiatives, and step-by-step actions to bring them to fruition. Since completion, the solar farm has been toured by hundreds of students in classes from many disciplines, as well as city and county oicials working on their own renewable energy project plans. visit the Integrated Waste Management Authority (IWMA) website.
Campus Dining and Facilities Management and Development partner with Engle and Gray (E&G), a licensed facility in Santa Maria, to compost pre-consumer food scraps from Dining and post-consumer compostable items from large events. About 230 tons of food scraps from Campus Dining are composted annually. Compostable items like food-soiled paper plates, napkins and compostable flatware are only collected at Zero waste events where Zero Waste Ambassadors help to keep the compost from contamination. Everywhere else on campus, compostable-ware must be thrown in the trash. Previous attempts to collect compostable paper to send to the Engel and Grey compost facility were too contaminated to send anywhere but landfill. Instead, the campus has opted to pursue a Food-Waste only collection for public locations.
Food Waste to Local Energy
Food scraps are collected at numerous locations throughout campus to send to the new SLO anaerobic digestor run by Hitachi Zozen Inova LLC. Food scrap collection is available in campus student apartments on an opt-in basis to ensure the highest quality & least contamination. Other locations include staff break rooms, Kennedy Library, ASI, Food Processing, the ASI Children’s Center, and from other Zero Waste station bins marked “Food Waste Only.” The food waste materials are collected by San Luis Garbage and hauled to the anerobic digestor near the SLO airport, where they are conveyed into a giant rotating drum, digested, and the resulting methane captured to run turbines. The remaining materials are composted in static aerated piles for an additional 3 weeks, and the resulting compost is sold to local farms as a soil amendment.
Animal Manure & Green Waste Composting
On an annual basis, CAFES animal operations produce approximately seven million pounds of manure. Cal Poly Agriculture Operations performs onsite composting of the manure, along with approximately 2,500 cubic yards of green waste generated from campus landscaping maintenance. The resulting 3,500 cubic yards of finished compost is used on the student-run Organic Farm, campus landscaping, and Cal Poly crops for soil amendment, reducing the need for chemical fertilizer. To find out more about Cal Poly Compost or place an order, call Ag Operations at 805-756-2548.