Dundee & Angus College Waste to compost project

Tags: waste | compost | Dundee & Angus College

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Dundee & Angus College  Waste to compost project image #1 Dundee & Angus College Rocket Composter Food Macerator

Rocket composter site visit 

Dundee & Angus College's Waste to Compost Project was selected as the Decade Highlight for Resource Procurement and Lifecycle at the EAUC Scotland 2018 Conference – you can view their presentation from the conference.

The Scottish Smaller Institutions Sustainability Network toured the composter as part of their their network meeting. 

Funding and partners

Funding for the Rocket Composter came from a local environmental trust, Angus Environmental Trust. It is helpful to know that anyone can apply to any local trust for the landfill tax funding.

  • Tidy Planet is also involved in the project working with Dundee & Angus College

Food source and cycle length

All food waste from the training kitchens and canteen go into the Rocket, including all vegware products

  • To provide an idea of scale, there is a total of 1500 full-time students and part-time and staff

All waste that will go into the composter is macerated with the excess water removed prior to entering the composting system and added to the rocket composter every day (called food pulp)

  • The system is fed daily and monitored in order to maintain a healthy environment for bacteria and microbes – this helps to minimise odours and ensure proper waste breakdown
  • It takes 2 weeks from when the food enters the system to come out the other end as compost

Post rocket system

The estate gardeners used the compost in growing trials this past year – testing their own compost versus store-bought compost by growing strawberries

  • The seeds and cuttings grown in their homemade compost grew faster and had greater output

Future plans

  • Incorporate compost into curriculum
    • Horticulture classes to try and test different variations of compost by adding different substrates and ratios to the finished product
  • Serve as a model example for other institutions
    • The local prison has 35 tonnes of food waste per year and visited the Dundee & Angus College composter to see how it could work for them (as a result they plan to install one of these)

Key recommendations

  • Have dedicated staff at different points to maintain quality source and end product
    • 2 staff members collect the food and vegware waste and macerate in preparation for the composter
    • 2 staff members manage the compost system – composting champions who are knowledgeable and engaged that also work with horticulture students and manage the land/estate
  • Promotion of sustainable initiatives are key to success and ensuring that everyone is on board
    • They worked with Vegware to create promotional materials displayed across the college
    • The project has been widely shared with the Further and Higher education sector
    • Site visits for others looking to do similar projects