Dartmouth University Examines Composting Through Pilot Program

Hanover, N.H. - Last year, faculty, students and administration from Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H., turned the Dartmouth Organic Farm (DOF) into a separated organics composting pilot program.

The composting team agreed to process 50 tons of composting feedstocks to increase the organic content of the farm. Most of the feedstocks, which contained cow manure and vegetable scraps, were landspread across the two-acre site. Between 200- and 300- pounds of fruit and vegetable trimmings from Dartmouth Dining Services were brought to the site each day. To add bulk and control moisture, 10- to 15-pounds of paper towels from college bathrooms were added to the mix. The 50-pounds of cow manure included shredded newsprint from college operations.

Extensive testing concluded that the compost mix was fairly mature based on organic content and appearance and volatile organic acids reportedly were not high.

The compost program yielded about 25-tons of high quality finished product. Due to startup operational problems at the DOF, the stockpile could not be used at the farm. Fortunately, the Facilities Department used all of the material to top dress several of the athletic fields. In the end, a profit of more than $10,000 was made for the college and recycling operations.

On the waste reduction side, the program used more than 50,000-pounds of various materials from Dartmouth's waste stream.