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Posted on Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 8:28 a.m.

University of Michigan gives food composting a try at the Michigan League

By Kellie Woodhouse

Not going to finish those fries?

No problem.


Rob Doletzky, U-M grounds services supervisor, describes composting processes while at the composting site at Plant Building and Grounds Services.

Melanie Maxwell I

The University of Michigan is piloting a food composting program.

The pilot began in August and will last through Nov. 21. It's taking place at the Michigan League, where there's a coffee shop, catering and two fast food restaurants. Food collected in compost bins there will be composted at the City of Ann Arbor's compost site.

After the pilot, U-M will decide whether to implement post-consumer composting throughout campus. U-M already participates in pre-consumer composting and has composted an estimated 870 tons of waste since 1998.

"The pilot is in response to student inquiry to see if it's feasible on our campus — to determine the challenges we would face in rolling out campuswide — as well the true financial costs," Tracy Artley, a U-M sustainability program coordinator, explained in a release.

In 2011 U-M President Mary Sue Coleman pledged to reduce waste sent to landfills by 40 percent at U-M. Composting would help the school meet that goal.

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.


Seasoned Cit

Fri, Oct 26, 2012 : 12:42 p.m.

I wonder if they have consulted with Chef Alex Young at Zingerman's Roadhouse who has been composting restaurant waste and is successfully using the compost in place of chemicall fertilizers at this Cornmans Farm in Dexter.

Linda Peck

Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 6:48 p.m.

Great idea! If all of the food service units at UofM used composting, what a difference that would make in garbage collection costs, and how much good new composted soil would be available for gardens and farms? A lot, probably!


Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 3:14 p.m.

"piloting a food composing program" That's odd, I thought the Michigan League had been making/selling food for awhile, now...

Kellie Woodhouse

Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 2:04 p.m.

@Tracey Thanks for letting us know where the food collected from the Michigan League bins will be composted. I'll add to the article.

Tracy Artley

Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 2:07 p.m.

Thanks Kellie!

Tracy Artley

Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 1:55 p.m.

This article is a bit misleading. We are not composting this food waste on campus. It is being taken to the City of Ann Arbor's compost site, operated by WeCare Organics.


Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 1:50 p.m.

I thought you weren't supposed to put things like french fries or anything with moderate fat content into compost piles because it fosters the stinky kind of bacteria?


Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 3:56 p.m.

@billy - perhaps they will move to an in vessel composter that would allow for any foods (including meat, bones, fats) to be composted and in a fraction of the time of a static pile. There is even a Michigan manufacturer with this technology.


Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 1 p.m.

Here come the skunks, raccoons,