Sustainability

Organics

CSUN has an important role to play as an educator and responsible party in the efforts to reduce the quantity of food waste produced and the shipment of organic waste off campus. 

Main Strategies

  1. Reduce quantity of organic waste
  2. Educate students and the campus community about food waste
  3. Continue to develop the CSUN Organic Food Garden as an educational resource
  4. Develop and manage campus grounds using sustainability practices

Objectives for 2023

  1. Reduce quantity of food waste by 15% by 2015 and by 50% by 2023
  2. Reduce quantity of other green waste by 50% by 2018 and 80% by 2023
  3. Conduct on-site composting to generate organic fertilizer for use on campus grounds
  4. Gain recognition as a Tree Campus USA
  5. Re-use waste vegetable oil
  6. Fully develop Organic Food Garden which provides educational and research opportunities for students, faculty, staff and the surrounding community.

2016-17 Priorities and Outcomes

  • Develop a Sustainable Landscape Management Program (SLMP).
    • A SLMP was created in house with a partnership between PPM Grounds and Sustainability Staff. This plan outlines lawn maintenance and landscaping practices, tree care and maintenance, pesticide and herbicides use, invasive species, native plant selection, and water conservation efforts.
  • Begin implementation of SLMP.
    • Several of the SLMP practices have been implemented including: minimum mow height, reducing harsh chemicals used for pest control, and continuous monitoring of irrigation system to reduce water consumption.
  • Increase ratio of organic versus inorganic materials used on CSUN Grounds.
    • Grounds received its first delivery of commercial compost in April from our waste hauler, Athens Services. This compost is the end product from the composting facility where our green waste and food waste is processed.
  • Position Campus to be successful in complying with AB 1826 Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling.
    • All campus entities are now serviced by the same waste hauler which has the ability to haul and process our organics and food waste offsite. The University Corporation is working with Athens Services to expand post-consumer composting throughout their facilities. In Fall 2017 the new 3-compartment source separation bins will be deployed in the Sierra Center.

Other Highlights

  • The Grounds Department has eliminated the use of traditional ant pesticide and is now using an all natural concentrated mint solution to treat ants and other insect pests.
  • CSUN Sustainability course students volunteered at the Sierra Center to help their peers in understanding what material goes in which bin.
  • Over 204 students volunteered at the CSUN Garden.
  • The IS hosted several workshops at the garden and compost site including Backyard Compost Made Easy and a Veggie Garden Workshop at the campus garden to educate faculty and staff about organic gardening.
  • The Grounds Department has been doing extensive research and trials of alternative pesticide and herbicides that meet both the Sustainable Landscape Management Plan and the Integrated Pest Management Plan.
  • The Campus Garden was toured by several classes this year including an Interior Design course.

2017-18 Priorities

  • Pilot on campus grounds composting using material that is currently being brought offsite.
  • Develop an effective method for distributing and using Athens compost for planters and turf.
  • Complete the construction of the Outdoor Classroom and begin holding classes at the site.
  • Install work area located at the campus garden
  • Continue the implementation of compost bins in TUC Dining Locations.

Collect and Record Waste Data

Issue:

OG1.1

Priority:

1

Strategy:

Collect and record all current waste from campus dining facilities for baseline data, set targets, and measure progress.

Status:

Campus Composting is collecting organic waste from Juice It Up, G'Mos, and Freudian Sip. Weight is taken for all of these items. Roughly 1,300lbs a week.
All waste data is now be tracked through the "Campus Waste and Recycling Tracking" Spreadsheet.

Party Responsible:

TUC, IS

Next/Action Items:

On-going.

Compost Receptacles

Issue:

OG1.2

Priority:

1

Strategy:

Collect and record all current waste from campus dining facilities for baseline data, set targets, and measure progress

Status:

Campus Composting is collecting organic waste from Juice It Up, G'Mos, and Freudian Sip. Weight is taken for all of these items. Roughly 1,300lbs a week. All waste data is now be tracked through the "Campus Waste and Recycling Tracking" Spreadsheet.

Party Responsible:

TUC, IS

Next/Action Items:

On-going.

Compostable/Reusable Containers

Issue:

OG1.3

Priority:

3

Strategy:

Use compostable or reusable food containers and utensils at all campus dining facilities wherever feasible

Status:

All Plates, Utensils, Cups and Containers (PUC’s) are compostable including Pepsi cups with the exception of hot soup containers. Franchises are excluded from this.

Party Responsible:

TUC, AS

Next/Action Items:

In-progress.

Receptacles in Kitchens

Issue:

OG1.4

Priority:

1

Strategy:

Provide pre-consumer food waste receptacles inside all campus food preparation kitchens and collect daily.

Status:

There are currently bins at all Freudian Sip locations and at G'Mos student dining facility.

Party Responsible:

TUC, IS

Next/Action Items:

In-progress. TUC needs to investigate the feasibility of rolling out this program to all TUC kitchens.

Coffee Grounds

Issue:

OG1.5

Priority:

1

Strategy:

Collect coffee grounds from all campus coffee shops and compost at campus garden.

Status:

Collecting all coffee grounds from Freudian Sips.

Party Responsible:

TUC, IS

Next/Action Items:

On-going. TUC to add the new F-Sip location next FY to this program.

Expand Compost Operations

Issue:

OG1.6

Priority:

1

Strategy:

Expand composting operation at campus garden to incorporate pre-consumer waste from all campus kitchens.

Status:

TUC will be including organics in new RFP.

Party Responsible:

TUC, IS, AS

Next/Action Items:

In-progress.

Compost Waste Paper

Issue:

OG1.7

Priority:

No further action

Strategy:

Conduct pilot study to assess feasibility of composting waste paper from campus bathrooms

Status:

This will be feasible under the new waste RFP

Party Responsible:

PPM, AS, IS, TUC

Next/Action Items:

Need to discuss whether this is something the University wants to do.

In-Vessel Composter

Issue:

OG1.7

Priority:

3

Strategy:

Develop (or purchase) in-vessel composter to compost post-consumer waste from throughout campus

Status:

This was not a cost effective option for composting.

Party Responsible:

PPM, AS, IS, TUC

Next/Action Items:

No further action 

Biodiesel Converter

Issue:

OG1.9

Priority:

2

Strategy:

Research possible uses of biodiesel fuel on campus and if viable, purchase and install a

biodiesel converter

Status:

No action taken.

Party Responsible:

PPM, IS, EH&S

Next/Action Items:

No action taken.

Waste Vegetable Oil

Issue:

OG1.10

Priority:

1

Strategy:

Collect and process waste vegetable oil from campus kitchens into biodiesel.

Status:

A company picks up all the waste vegetable oil for the food services locations and converts it to biodiesel off site.

Party Responsible:

PPM, IS, TUC

Next/Action Items:

On-going.

Food Waste Signage

Issue:

OG2.1

Priority:

No further action.

Strategy:

Provide signage at all eating establishments regarding wasting food

Status:

Waste hauler should provide signage for back of house kitchen composting. For post-consumer composting TUC will be developing signage for the bins.

Party Responsible:

PPM, AS, IS, TUC

Next/Action Items:

In-progress.

Compost Receptacle Signage

Issue:

OG2.2     

Priority:

3

Strategy:

Provide signage for all compost receptacles clearly indicating allowed substances.

Status:

Waste hauler should provide signage for back of house kitchen composting. For post-consumer composting TUC will be developing signage for the bins.

Party Responsible:

PPM, AS, IS, TUC

Next/Action Items:

In-progress.

Garden Internships

Issue:

OG2.3

Priority:

1

Strategy:

Expand student internship program in campus garden.

Status:

Interns are funded through the IS to maintain the garden and collect compostables.

Party Responsible:

IS

Next/Action Items:

On-going.

Student Compost Research

Issue:

OG2.4

Priority:

1

Strategy:

Provide additional research opportunities for students to study composting.

Status:


Geography 404 students sampled compost for fertility, particle size, etc. This course occurs once per year.

Party Responsible:

IS

Next/Action Items:

On-going: Vermicomposting opportunities to be added.

Greenhouse Storage Area

Issue:

OG3.1

Priority:

3

Strategy:

Install a greenhouse/storage area for research and projects

Status:

No action taken.

Party Responsible:

PPM, IS

Next/Action Items:

No action taken.

Outdoor Classroom

Issue:

OG3.2

Priority:

2

Strategy:

Install seating for an outdoor classroom

Status:

No action taken.

Party Responsible:

PPM, IS

Next/Action Items:

No action taken.

Work Area

Issue:

OG3.3

Priority:

2

Strategy:

Install seating for a work area for planting, washing and harvesting produce

Status:

No action taken.

Party Responsible:

PPM, IS

Next/Action Items:

No action taken.

Garden Budget

Issue:

OG3.4

Priority:

1

Strategy:

Establish an annual maintenance budget for the organic food garden

Status:

There is funding through IS for student workers, but there is no materials budget for the garden.

Party Responsible:

IS

Next/Action Items:

In-progress.

Expand Compost Area

Issue:

OG3.5

Priority:

1

Strategy:

Establish sufficient space for the compost area.

Status:

Application submitted for an IRA grant for improving/expanding the compost area.

Party Responsible:

PPM, IS

Next/Action Items:

In-progress.

Horticulture Class

Issue:

OG3.6

Priority:

3

Strategy:

Assess interest in and feasibility of offering a sustainable horticulture or other gardening

class.

Status:

Under consideration.

Party Responsible:

IS, LSP, Tseng

Next/Action Items:

In-progress.

Liquid Fertilizer

Issue:

OG4.1

Priority:

2

Strategy:

Conduct research to generate liquid fertilizer/compost tea from organic waste

Status:

No action taken.

Party Responsible:

PPM, IS

Next/Action Items:

No action taken.

Use/Sell Compost

Issue:

OG4.2

Priority:

3

Strategy:

Establish program to use compost on campus grounds and distribute/sell excess compost

Status:

No action taken.

Party Responsible:

PPM, IS

Next/Action Items:

No action taken.

Tree Inventory

Issue:

OG4.3

Priority:

1

Strategy:

Maintain and utilize campus tree inventory (GIS) for managing tree maintenance.

Status:

Tree Inventory is maintained by PPM Grounds and FPDC.

Party Responsible:

FPDC, PPM, IS

Next/Action Items:

On-going.

Landscape and Native Plants

Issue:

OG4.4

Priority:

1

Strategy:

Investigate options for reducing areas of irrigated landscape and introducing native plants.

Status:

PPM has created a preferred plant list for the campus.
Turf removal and replacement with drought tolerant plantings and native plants.

Housing is removing sprinklers and replacing plants with native, drought tolerant.

Party Responsible:

FPDC, PPM

Next/Action Items:

Continue with turf removal and replacing with drought tolerant vegetation.