Housing & Dining Services has invested in a state of the art, fully-automated composting system called the Earth Flow. This enclosed, 30-yard capacity compost bin is located on the CSU Foothills Campus (three miles west of main campus). Pre- and post-consumer food waste from CSU Dining Centers is composted in the Earth Flow.
Dining Center Pulpers
Ram’s Horn, Braiden, and Durrell Center Dining Centers have pulpers in their kitchens. The pulpers mix all of the food and paper waste with water, and then grind up the material. This slurry is then taken by pipe to a centrifuge, which removes excess water and recycles it through the system. The pulped organic waste is emptied into collection containers outside the building. This pulped material is perfect for composting because it is already broken down into small pieces.
Earth Flow Technology
The Earth Flow in-vessel composting system, located on teh CSU Foothills Campus, accepts 2,000 pounds of material per day. Organic waste is loaded into one end of the vessel by placing the collection container on an automated tipper. Every time food waste is added, bulking material like straw, wood chips, and horse manure from the Equine Center is added at a 1:2 ratio.
Material is composted for about three weeks inside the bin. Finished compost is discharged through an end door of the vessel. The compost is piled on site to cure for at least 3-4 weeks before being used in landscaping projects on campus.
Want to Know More?
For more detailed information about how the Earth Flow system works, download our Composting Fact Sheet (PDF).
Clean Waste-to-Energy Pilot Program
New in February 2012, Housing & Dining Services has partnered with the City of Fort Collins for a pilot program at the Drake Water Reclamation Facility to burn pulped food waste from the dining centers in the facility's anaerobic digester. The generated methane is used to heat the plant process and buildings. Initially, a 1,000 pounds of food waste (fruit rinds, bones, salad trimmings, and plate waste) will be used in the pilot with increased volumes planned if the pilot progresses successfully.