Throughout Fall of 2017, Georgia Tech will test compostable materials collection infrastructure in an existing academic building via a pilot project. The project is being conducted in preparation for composting in the coming Living Building, which will be constructed as Tech participates in the International Living Future Institute’s Living Building Challenge.
In addition to fulfilling many other green standards, the building must exhibit net-zero waste, which includes diverting as much organic waste from landfills as possible. Currently, Tech has no organic waste collection in areas accessible to the general population, but there will be compost bins in addition to recycling bins in the new Living Building. Materials collected will be hauled off to composting sites, avoiding the alternative of consigning them to landfills. It's hoped that infrastructure created through this project will forge a path for future sustainability improvements not only at Georgia Tech, but at campuses worldwide.
What is composting, and why is it important?
Composting, in short, is the act of creating a fertilizer by letting organic materials such as food scraps, paper, and yard trimmings decompose into carbon and nitrogen, creating a closed nutrient loop.
Many people compost as a cheap yet effective way to enrich their personal gardens, but there is an even greater reason to partake in the process: sustainability. If left in a landfill's oxygen deprived environment, compostable materials decompose into methane, a greenhouse gas, rather than into soil nutrients.