MU Campus Dining strives for sustainability

Friday, November 18, 2011 | 5:46 p.m. CST; updated 7:12 p.m. CST, Friday, November 18, 2011
Tim Reinbott, superintendent of the Bradford Research Center, talks with Eric Cartwright, executive chef for MU Campus Dining Services, before the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new composting facilities at the research center on Friday. The new facility has four bays that will each hold a week's worth of food waste from the campus dining halls.

COLUMBIA — The Bradford Research Center held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2:30 p.m. Friday to launch its new project known as the "Zero Carbon Vegetable and Compost Production System."

Tim Reinbott, the center's superintendent, hosted the ceremony. 


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Despite the stench of the manure being poured into the more than $70,000 compost facility, there wasn't much nose pinching. Instead, smiles were strewn across the faces of the MU students, College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources engineers and community members who came to witness what they believed was a significant step toward sustainability.

The compost will run on what the research center is calling a "closed-loop" cycle. According to a press release, the compost will be used to grow vegetables, which will be sold to Campus Dining Services. The pre- and post-consumer food waste will then go back to the research center.

"It's a huge education opportunity," said Kat Seal, president of Sustain Mizzou. "We really have an opportunity to manage waste."

Reinbott said biotechnology students and students involved in Tigers for Community Agriculture will be in charge of maintaining the compost. In the future, he would also like students studying or involved with economics to participate, in hopes that they can find ways for the project to benefit the economy.

The cycle will also include converting waste vegetable oil from the university's dining service into biodiesel to fuel the trucks required to transport the materials and deliver the vegetables to campus.

"I'm always interested in being as green as possible,” Reinbott said. 

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