Composting is going greener at the University of Vermont. The school composted more than 9 tons of waste a week last year from dorms and dining halls, but a new program aims to reach smaller sites around campus in a cost-effective manner.
"We wanted to expand the program to the far reaches of campus like offices and classrooms and places where food waste was generated but we didn't have a way to collect it," said Erica Spiegel, the solid waste manager at UVM.
Burlington company One Revolution caters to clients like UVM, working with area businesses and residents to transport compostable materials by bike. They say the cost to the campus is about $125 a week.
"It's a pretty low overhead operation and we are basically covering the time of the bicyclist," Spiegel said.
Jens Pharr works for One Revolution when he's not studying at the campus. The route, which takes the environmental sciences student to about 30 offices in 20 different places, takes about two hours, twice a week.
It's a picture-perfect July day on campus now, but Vermont isn't exactly known for being sunny and 80 year-round. Campus officials say they'll have to look at whether the program can continue in the winter months, but the bikers tell us icy conditions won't stop them.
"It's definitely cold and there are a couple added hazards to look out for, but we've been doing it for a while now and we feel comfortable doing it," Pharr said.
With the state's new solid waste law, which mandates composting by 2020, Pharr says they're hoping their cooperative will expand.
"Our plan is to get involved in some of those contacts," he said. "And I think we have a standing in our community that lends itself to our ability to do that."
One Revolution collects about 80 pounds of waste a week in the program. If it's successful, they could expand it in the fall.