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.

2018-19 Priorities and Outcomes

  • Pursue Bee Campus USA designation.
    • CSUN has achieved Bee Campus USA designation through the Xerces Society, and has installed a pollinator garden to support this effort. The campus will be developing a Pollinator Habitat Plan, hosting annual events and workshops discussing the role and importance of pollinators, and installing educational signage near pollinator-friendly plants across campus. 
  • Determine feasibility of an on-campus post-consumer food waste digester.
    • The cost of operating an on-campus digester to process compostable post-consumer waste far outweighs the cost of having it composted by a contracted waste hauler. CSUN will most likely be diverting its compostable waste through a waste hauler rather than processing it on campus.
  • Expand campus garden and increase production.
    • Through a Campus as a Living Lab grant, three large beds were added to the Sustainable Garden Education Center. These beds are producing cilantro, parsley, basil, mint and oregano which are being used in CSUN Dining facilities.
  • Continue green waste composting on campus and begin spreading material as fertilizer.
    • Seven large windrows were established at The PILE this year and the first harvest of usable material will occur over the summer. Additional equipment will be added to support operations moving forward, including a larger chipper and sifter. The temperatures of the windrows are being closely monitored and they are turned on a regular basis. Once a sifter is procured, both finished compost and mulch from the facility will be spread on campus grounds.

Other Highlights

  • CSUN established its first Pollinator Garden, located on the north end of campus next to the Sustainable Outdoor Classroom.
  • CSUN gained recognition as a Tree Campus USA for the 5th year in a row.
  • The campus preconsumer food waste compost program has been transitioned to CSUN Dining, who has partnered with its waste hauler to compost the materials offsite.
  • As part of the Campus As A Living Lab (CALL) Grant, The Institute for Sustainability purchased a bike as an alternative to an electric cart which will be used to deliver produce from the garden to CSUN Dining facilities.

  2019-20 Priorities

  • Develop a Campus Pollinator Habitat Plan.
  • Develop and offer a pollinator protection workshop.
  • Post signage about pollinator-friendly landscaping principles.
  • Develop service learning opportunities for student involvement in Bee Campus USA, Tree Campus USA, and The PILE.
  • Continue to expand The PILE and refine the operation.
  • Deploy compost receptacles throughout campus buildings.

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.