Composting is a key element in the University's efforts to reduce the amount of garbage going to landfill. The university is committed to removing as much organic material from the waste stream and making better use of this resource. These efforts are steadily becoming an integral part of the university's waste diversion plan. Currently, the university has a multi-prong approach to managing organic waste on campus.
Sodexo has equipped both Ban Righ and Leonard Dining Halls with industrial size composting units to divert 95% of their food waste from landfill. The food waste that goes into these composting units is baked during 14 hour cycles and turned into compost that is used on campus by PPS Grounds.
Locations including, Donald Gordon Centre, University Club, Ban Righ Dining Hall, West Campus Dining Hall, MacCorry Cafeteria, Lazy Scholar, Tea Room, Garden Street Café, Tim Horton's and the JDUC Sidewalk Café are ensuring that all compostable items such as food waste and food soiled paper goes into the organics bins provided by the University and WSI. The kitchens are able to place a large variety of items into the organics bins, including meat, dairy products, produce, coffee grounds, kitchen paper towels, napkins, uncoated paper take-out containers, cups and plates, and pizza boxes. The organics bins are picked up on a weekly schedule and routed to the Norterra Organics composting site.
PPS Grounds crew collects campus leaf and yard waste for composting. Approximately 65 tonnes of the campus' leaf and yard waste was diverted to the Kingston Area Recycling Centre composting facility in 2009. In addition as many leaves are mulched on site as possible.
Vermicomposting uses worms to decompose organic waste. This year, the Main Campus Residence Council (MCRC,) with the support of Residences administration leased 11 vermicomposting units from the Living Cities Company, a business run by two Queen's students. The units have been distributed to floors in Waldron Tower, Watts Hall, McNeill House, Leggett, Gordon-Brockington, Leonard, Adelaide-Ban Righ and Chown and Victoria Hall. Floor residents in the Queen's program look after the day-to-day maintenance of each composter, which includes the collection of organic waste in reusable empty yogurt pots and feeding the worms.
The Tea Room in Beamish-Munroe Hall is to be credited with being the first food outlet on campus to acquire vermicomposters to assist with their waste diversion efforts. This location also participates in the campus-run organics program and has demonstrated a strong commitment to only purchasing compostable cups and food containers.