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.

2017-18 Priorities and Outcomes

  • Pilot on campus ground composting using material that is currently being taken offsite.
    • Since November 2017, all campus grounds material is being composted onsite near the Food Garden. As of February 2018, landscaping material from Campus Housing is also being brought to this site. An estimated 62 tons of material has been processed to date and it is expected to reach 183 tons per year.
  • Develop effective method for distributing and using Athens compost for planters and turf.
    • The necessary equipment has been identified and will be purchased using grant funding received from the Metropolitan Water District 2018 Innovative Conservation Program grant. 
  • Complete the construction of the Outdoor Classroom and begin holding classes there.
    • The Outdoor Classroom has been built and landscaping and irrigation will be installed, as funds become available. Once complete, the space will be made available for online reservation by campus users.
  • Install work area located in the CSUN Sustainable Garden Education Center.
    • An outdoor table, sink and drying rack are needed to complete the work area. Asset Management is aware of what is needed and will be setting aside any items as they become available.
  • Continue implementation of compost bins in TUC Dining Locations.
    • Outdoor compost bins were installed at the Sierra Center by adding color-coded lids and vinyl wraps to existing outdoor bins, creating eight new trios of landfill, bottle and can, and compostables receptacles.

Other Highlights

  • 640 yards of mulch was delivered to the campus through a partnership with the city. This material is being used throughout the campus planters and Orange Grove to prevent water loss and weed growth.
  • A Campus As A Living Lab grant was received that will allow for the expansion of the campus garden, and a partnership between the Marilynn Magaram Center and the University Corporation.
  • The Institute for Sustainability held two Orange Picks this year with over 320 volunteers harvesting and donating over 11,600 pounds of food to local food banks including the CSUN Food Pantry.

 2018-19 Priorities

  • Pursue the Bee Campus USA designation.
  • Determine feasibility of an on campus post-consumer food waste digester.
  • Expand campus garden and increase production.
  • Continue green waste composting on campus and begin spreading material as fertilizer.

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.