Edible Earth, a not-for-profit project creating sustainable waste management solutions, is proposing to put a composting hub on the University of Auckland campus.
In 2021, the Ministry for the Environment estimated that 17.49 billion tonnes of waste is produced per year in Aotearoa, with 12.59 million tonnes estimated to be sent to the landfill. Rotting organic waste creates methane-producing bacteria, which emits a more potent gas than carbon dioxide. Members on campus aim to create a circular and sustainable system to help improve the University’s climate action engagement, by introducing a composting hub that will regenerate healthy foods within campus.
The recommended site for the compost hub is by Old Government House on the Auckland central campus, and would see food waste and compostable packaging being collected on a regular schedule in order to make the compost. Each batch of compost will take around four months to be made, and once ready would go into a vegetable garden on campus that can provide ingredients for local on-campus stores.
Currently, the University ranks as one of the top ten in the Global Times Higher Education Sustainability rankings, however it doesn’t make the top 100 in climate action. Mike Mead from Retail Services told Craccum that sustainability is the biggest issue that the University should be focusing on for the future, and that the compost hub is a quick and simple way to positively impact the University’s carbon footprint. With sustainable changes being made to new infrastructure being built on campus, for example the new B201 building will have the top carbon rating star, a compost hub can also complete the aesthetic inspiration for sustainability the University needs.
Mike also told Craccum that some staff already have their own small composting system. Students will be key to this project though, as volunteers are welcomed, and the project has potential to be included in the Environmental Sciences curriculum. However, for now, student voices will be crucial in supporting the idea and making it become reality.