Project Compost was started from an internship with the campus-recycling program (R4 Recycling) in the Fall of 1999. The internship was outlined by the intern (Max Cadji) and shaped by the R4 project director. The recycling program was able to divert newspaper, bottles, cans, scrap wood, and even scrap metal, but when it came to food waste and agricultural waste there was no available infrastructure for diversion.
UC Davis as an agricultural institution, which schools 25,000 + and houses a copious number of animal barns, it produced large amounts of organic materials that were entering the campus landfill. Through the internship waste sorts were completed at the cafeterias on campus and research was compiled on the amount agricultural and landscape biomass produced yearly. Composting systems were researched that would best divert these materials. Based on an ongoing project that was being conducted by the organic Student Farm on campus with food waste composting, a trial project was set up with one Sodexho-Marriott cafeteria to collect their pre-consumer vegetable scraps on a daily basis using old recycling bins and a borrowed vehicle from the recycling program. At the same time a resolution was passed through the student senate stating their support (moral, not financial) for a campus wide composting program.
Winter 2001 brought about an opportunity to make this trial project a reality, money surfaced in student government, when Project Recycle (a student-run recycling program) was taken over by the university recycling program (R4). With some heavy lobbying to the student government and a subsequent bill, Project Compost became a reality. Fall 2001-2002 kicked off the Project Compost official drive to spread the glory of compost throughout the university!
Project Compost merged with Campus Center for the Environment (CCE) in Fall of 2015. Now as a subunit of another unit of ASUCD, Project Compost still acts under its two part mission of Action and Education, but we know have more resources and opportunities for collaboration.
Check out our CCE webpage to learn more about Campus Center for the Environment! cce.ucdavis.edu