Money to Make Brown Gold" from Scraps

Gardeners have long called compost "brown gold" for the valuable additives it gives to their plants. Ithaca College has been generating its own brown gold --- composting vegetable matter, primarily from dining hall food scraps --- since the fall of 1992. The operation has allowed the composting of about a third of the scraps generated. Now a $132,250 state environmental program grant will pay for half of the expansion of the College's on-site composting facility, to allow the College to compost all of the food scraps generated and collected on campus.

Announced earlier this month by Gov. George Pataki, the grant, part of the $3 million Empire State Development 1998 Recycling Investment Program, was among 24 distributed across the state to foster waste reduction and recycling efforts.

Conceived primarily as a way to combat steadily increasing landfill tipping fees, the composting program has helped slash the College's hauling costs, reduced stress on its equipment, and generated a useful by-product --- brown gold --- that has meant significant cost savings for a groundskeeping program that once relied heavily on imported topsoil. The program has also been of major benefit to the Ithaca community, which has seen the life of its landfill extended because of the waste-flow reduction. Those benefits will only grow with the expansion of the existing facility.

Site planning and engineering work is underway, and completion of the $264,500 project is expected within a year.

"Investing in the environment strengthens the economy," said Pataki in announcing the awards. "Our recycling investment program helps make New York businesses more competitive, while creating jobs and cleaner communities."

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Web pages created by Andrejs Ozolins. 19 Oct 1999