You may have seen it on campus, you may not have. CCCU Sustainability and Christ Church Students’ Union have recently bought their very own composter. And it’s now working! This is what our composter looks like:
Jamie chills under our composter
Compost bins are designed to assist with the decomposition of organic matter (e.g. vegetables, food) through exposing it to air and keeping it moisturised. Air and moisture create the ideal conditions for the activity of microorganisms responsible for creating high temperatures that turn the organic matter into compost.
What is compost used for? It’s often used in gardens, landscaping and horticulture. Compost is rich in nutrients, so is very beneficial to the land as it can act as a soil conditioner, a fertilizer and as a natural pesticide. It’s also very sustainable. Did you know that one of the largest contributors to landfills is food waste? Once food is in a landfill, it is just waste and is never re-used by the environment. Composting allows our food waste to decompose without creating methane and recycles it into a product that can help grow plants.
Composting can help the hops we grow on campus thrive.
So how does our Ridan composter work? Well, as organic matter is poured in at one end of the composter and the handle rotated, oxygen exposes air to it, heating the food waste up while it’s making its way through the composter.
We first start with pouring the organic matter into the composter. It’s important that there’s only small pieces to help microorganisms digest the content. We use a half ‘’brown’ material (wood chip/ sawdust) and half ‘green’ food waste. We’ve used the same amount of food waste and same amount of wood chip/sawdust in it.
Ellie (Students’ Union) and Hannah (Sustainability) take turns pouring the organic matter into the composter.
Then it’s time to turn, turn, turn! We need to turn the handle at least six full turns for it to work.
Hannah rotates the composter.
We keep on rotating until the contents have started travelled through the composter. We need to make sure the composter is is ¾ full before we do anything else. Every day, we will be adding food waste to our composter until it is full enough to move on to the next step.
Did you know all the food waste going has come from the on campus kitchen in the Food Court? We collect the food waste from the campus kitchen and add it to our composter every day.
While Hannah and Ellie rotate the composter, here is what it looks like inside. Not very appetising!
What happens next? We wait until the composter is full and when it is, we empty the contents into a maturation bin. Did you know it takes 2-3 months for the compost to mature enough to use on our crops? It’s a long process but well worth the wait.
Jamie peaks inside the maturation bin.
Interested in getting involved with the composter? We are looking for volunteers to operate our composter! We’ll provide you with everything you need. Simply turn up, pour in the contents, turn the handle and voilà- you’re one step closer to creating compost.
If you love the idea of being eco friendly and want to meet other like-minded students, join our brand new Eco Students society. Meet new people and try new things, while being sustainable at the same time. We’ll be getting involved in lots of projects on campus like composting, growing our own hops, community litter picking, growing mushrooms from coffee grounds and organising a sustainable food enterprise, at the same time as sharing tips on living a healthy, ethical and eco friendly lifestyle. Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on our Eco Students Facebook Group for more info!