Throughout each stage of this project, our main objective has been to answer our research question: 'How can St. Paul's College implement a composting program?' In finding out how to make a composting program feasible, effective, and attractive for St. Paul's, we have discovered that St. Paul's hasn't developed a composting program up to this point for many reasons. We realized that the people involved in a possible composting initiative are the administration, the staff, and the students. The administration expressed positive feelings towards a composting program in order to promote composting education, environmental responsibility and sustainability at St. Paul's College and at UW. However, they were unsure who would take on the responsibility involved. This concern was expressed during interviews with people at St. Paul's. The administration at the residence stated that they would likely implement a composting program if these concerns were addressed.
In devising a composting program that would be successful at St. Paul's, we have worked to find solutions to current problems with composting at St. Jerome's. Principles from the program at St. Jerome's can apply to a similar program at St. Paul's. These principles include: who seperates the waste, the weekly turning of the compost and problems that they encountered (i.e. the location of composters).
In determining if composting is feasible at St. Paul's, our main research question can be addressed. We found that composting is still feasible at St. Paul's College because there is still a large amount of organic waste produced that is currently going to the landfill. By conducting the mini waste audit at St. Paul's we found minimal difference between the volume of compostables collected this year and the volume collected in the 1992 study. This allowed us to use the 1992 data for the remainder of the project. From the 1992 study, 7600 litres of compost was generated per year.
The third component in answering our research question involved investigating a similar composting program at St. Jerome's. Our source at St. Jerome's relayed to us the procedure for composting at the college. The students and kitchen staff separate the wastes and put them into the appropriate bins. The Environmental Officer is responsible for the management of the composters. As well, lack of student participation at St. Jerome's seems to be an organizational drawback. When applying this information to St. Paul's we discovered that we could reduce staff responsibility and have a representative from Student's Council be in charge. Because students at St. Paul's seem to be more enthusiastic and willing to participate, we expect more student involvement.
Technical issues that have arisen during the five years of operation at St. Jerome's include: odour, pests, frozen compost in winter months and lack of decomposition. In creating an improved program at St. Paul's, the odour and pests will be eliminated by reducing the rotting of food and increasing the decomposition. We recommend that St. Paul's have the composters on a soil base to resolve the problems faced at St. Jerome's. Black plastic sheets to cover the composters in the winter will help prevent freezing.
After investigating these aspects of our research question, we have come up with recommedations that will allow St. Paul's to implement a successful composting program. These recommendations touch on all of our project objectives.
Last updated April 15, 1997.