United States
Environmental Protection
Solid Waste and
Emergency Response
September 1998
Middlebury College
Middlebury, Vermont
75% Recovery of Food Discards

contaminant free. The program does
accept a bit of contamination, as
compost is screened at the end. When
staff screen compost, they rent a
machine with a rotating mesh barrel.
The mesh lets small soil particles
through and captures larger
    The College used to have two
compactor containers. Due to odor
problems, however, one compactor was
removed and one of the satellite sites
stopped separating out compostables.
To mitigate odor from the remaining
compactor container, the  College
installed a filter. In summer 1997 staff
painted it white so that it would not
absorb as much heat, thereby cutting
down on organic processes until the
             material is transported
              to the compost site.
               This reduced odor. In
                a continuing effort to
                 lessen the odor
                  problem, Facilities
        Management staff are working
to develop a system for daily collection
from the compactor container. This,
they believe, will completely eliminate
odor problems.
                iddlebury College
                composts an average
            of 24 tons of food
             discards per month. In
              1996, the cost per ton
              for composting,
              including tipping fees,
               trucking, labor, fuel,
               and supplies was $42.
               For recycling it was
           $145;fortrash,$137. Asa
result of its high food recovery rate,
Middlebury realized net savings of
                                      Tips for Replication
                                         Educate staff on how to compost
                                      and why.
                                         Keep people involved in the
                                      program with an ongoing dialogue
                                      between the Environmental
                                      Coordinator and food service
                                         Commit to solving problems rather
                                      than saying "forget it" when problems
                                      arise. Keep trying, even if the program
                                      is not perfect at first. Let problems
                                      serve as catalysts for improvement.
                  Program Summary, 1996
 Sector                          College
 Average number of meals prepared 3,400-3,600 meals per year total in three
                                1993 off-site composting; 1996 on-site
                                On-site windrow composting
                                Kitchen scraps, pre- and post-consumer
                                  food discards
Start date
Dedicated Employees*
Materials collected
Part of comprehensive waste
 reduction program?
Total waste generated (TPY)
Food discards generated

Food discards recovered (TPY)
Food discards recovered (%)
Total waste recovered (TPY)
Total waste recovered (%)
                                1,133 tons
                                384 tons (estimated)
                                288 tons
                                75% (estimated,)
                                725 tons
 Average composting costs         $42 per ton
 Average avoided landfill hauling   $1 37 per ton
  and tipping fees
 Net savings                     $95 per ton

 * A dedicated employee is one whose primary responsibility is working with the food discard program.
 TPY = tons per year