The Compost Song

by Joan Gilmour

Sung to the tune of "The Hokey Pokey"

You put your wet greens in,

You spread your dry browns out,

You add a little water and you stir it all about.

You invite in all your bug friends

To have a two month feast,

Then shovel your compost out!


Sustainability on the University of Waterloo Campus is an ongoing process to improve the environmental health of the university and the surrounding areas so that the citizens of the future can continue to benefit from the area and its resources. It involves examining each area of the university to implement sustainable iniatives. Since materials such as food and waste move in and out of the University of Waterloo, the sustainability of the campus effects the sustainability of surrounding areas, for example landfill sites. We must strive towards stopping the outflow of organic waste from the campus to the landfills in order to lessen our negative impacts on the ecosystems and help create a healthier community. The area of the university that we have chosen to study is St. Paul's United College. At this location, there is a great concern for waste management, including organic waste generated in the cafeteria. Our main focus is how composting can be implemented at St. Paul's College so that there can be a reduction in the amount of waste that goes to the landfill site.


Composting has many benefits for the University of Waterloo. The main benefit is to help create a healthier community, which will lead to a sustainable community. This is our ratioanle for our study. When there is a balance between the community, the environmental and the economic interests, a healthier community can be achieved. Composting will aid in balancing these three issues by:


It is important that everyone work together and do whatever is possible to work towards achieving sustainability a the University of Waterloo. If everybody on campus puts some effort into this objective, we will have a healthier environment and lifestyle. In 1992, St. Jerome's College took a step towards sustainability by investigating the possibility of a composting program at the residence. A previous Watgreen project took on the task of preparing a proposal for composting programs at St. Jerome's College and St. Paul's College. The group undertook the responsibility of assessing the amount of waste generated by the students and kitchen staff. They performed a waste audit to obtain the data necessary to calculate the number of composters required. Thanks to the hard work of this group, St. Jerome's implemented a composting program. This has been their contribution to a healthier UW campus.

However, St. Paul's College has not requested nor started such a program, even after the same group urged them to initiate a similar program. Identical tasks were undertaken at St. Paul's College by the 1992 group in the hopes of beginning a composting program there as well. Despite the group's effort, no program was implemented in the end.

It is currently our desire to build upon the 1992 project in order to convince St. Paul's college that initiating a composting system at the residence is in everybody's best interests. It would not only be a step towards a more sustainable UW campus, but it would also benefit the college's community, economy and environment.

This project outlines the steps we have taken to make composting at St. Paul's a feasible and a desirable program. If St. Paul's College follows through with our recommendations, composting could occur at the residence. This would be in accordance with our vision of sustainabliity for UW. Using compiled data from the 1992 project along with our studies, we were able to make recommendations to aid St. Paul's with implementing a compost program .


By undertaking this project, we have evaluated the effectiveness of the composting program at St. Jerome's College. We have determined technical difficulties, that can be prevented at St. Paul's by following our recommendations. We found that the type of composters and their location are important factors for the success of the program. We have investigated the advantages of proper composting and discovered that it can occur year round. A composting program has not yet been implemented at St. Paul's despite previous efforts. We wish to propose a composting program to St. Paul's which is an improved version of the St. Jerome's program. Different methods of composting have been analyzed to determine the most appropriate type and number of composters for St. Paul's College.

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Last updated April 17, 1997.