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Ground Services earns sustainability award

April 08, 2010

ASU is a greener campus because of the efforts of the Facilities Management Ground Services department that initiated programs that convert landscaping waste into compost and harvest sour oranges instead of sending the fruit to a landfill.

For these two programs, the department earned the 2010 President’s Award for Sustainability.

The composting program utilizes green waste such as prunings and weeds that are collected and sent to Singh Farms where the waste is turned into compost. Then the rich material is sent back to the Tempe campus where it is used as a fertilizer to nourish the soil.

“We get a very high quality product,” said Ellen Newell, Facilities Management associate director. “We’re not using any chemical fertilizers.”

Because the compost nourishes the soil with live organisms, ASU’s dirt is healthier with more worms and less compaction. The program also saves funds since the green waste doesn’t need to be hauled to a landfill.

Campus Harvest is a program that makes use of the approximate six tons of Seville or sour oranges that are produced annually on campus. Instead of throwing the oranges away, the fruit is sent to campus dining facilities where they can be used in marmalade and in recipes. Oranges are also given to the Arcadia Citrus Program and have been sent to hog farms on the Gila River Indian Reservation. Oranges that are spoiled are used for compost.

Between the two programs, more than 240 tons of previous green “waste” have been kept out of landfills.

Team members:
Ellen Newell, Facilities Management Grounds Services
Fernando Reyna, Facilities Management Grounds Services
Mike Schantel, Facilities Management Grounds Services
Deborah Thirkhill, Facilities Management Grounds Services
Ken Singh, Singh Farms LLC