UCSB Physical Facilities and UCen Dining Services are collaborating to implement a new composting program Ground to Grounds, which will divert the waste created from the campus’s coffee cravings to landscaping.
Baristas will collect used coffee grounds throughout the day and pass them to the Facilities Management grounds crew the following morn- ing. The Arbor, Nicoletti’s, Courtyard Café, Coral Tree Café and coffee carts at Buchanan Hall, the Humanities and Social Sciences Building and the Student Resource Building are partici- pating in the initiative.
Physical Facilities Waste Management and Recycling Intern Matthew O’Carroll said the project takes advantage of the large quantities of java consumed on campus.
“It is important that the UCen Dining Services compost their coffee grounds because they purchase rough- ly 30,000 pounds of coffee a year,” O’Carroll said. “Composting these cof- fee grounds ensures that none of the 30,000 pounds are going to a landfill. Composting the coffee grounds also ensures that the university is receiv- ing 30,000 pounds of low-cost organic fertilizer that will naturally encourage vegetation and plant growth.”
According to UCen Dining Services Director Sue Hawkins, UCen Dining has diverted approximately 240,000 pounds of coffee grounds since it began composting the beans in 2006.
“We all know that we are running out of landfill space, and landfills shouldn’t really be our focus,” Hawkins said. “We need to find other methods to reduce waste and divert it from landfills.”
O’Carroll said converting refuse into fertilizer provides numerous environ- mental and fiscal benefits.
“In respect to waste diversion, com- posting is important because it reduces the amount of overall waste we send to landfills by eliminating the dump- ing of organic materials,” O’Carroll said. “Composting also allows for you to turn something that was meant for disposal into something beneficial. Its use as a low-cost fertilizer ensures that when applied to plants and vegetation, they are receiving an organic fertilizer that contains natural nutrients and no harmful chemicals.”