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Event: Tour with SciFest

Event: Tour with SciFest

Posted by Katie Deska on Apr 1st 2022

Join MSU's Office of Sustainability and the MSU Surplus Store & Recycling Center for a behind-the-scenes tour of the campus recycling facility and Grow Green Vermicompost operation. 

Explore how MSU hand-sorts recyclables with the help of a robot. See and smell how composting works. Meet the Spartan worms that transform campus food scraps into nutrient-rich "black gold" for gardens, farms and houseplants! The tour and talk will encourage you to continue going green and touch briefly on why your efforts matter! 

What: Behind-the-Scenes: MSU Recycling and "Re-Earth" Tour

When: Fri., April 8, 2022 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Education Center at the MSU Surplus Store & Recycling Center (468 Green Way, East Lansing)

Sign-up: Please register to attend the tour.

Hosts: MSU Surplus Store & Recycling Center and MSU's Office of Sustainability

Let's rethink, recycle and "re-earth!" 

Each year, we process between 20 to 25 million pounds of material which is resold, repurposed, donated, recycled, or composted. We collect from academic, research, and residential buildings; athletic and event spaces; MSU farms and more. 

MSU's recycling program began with paper collection and sorting in the late 1980s. Since then, the amount of waste per student has dropped over 50% -- despite a drastic increase in the student population! We operate a material recovery facility that runs mostly on hand-sorting, and have recently added robotic sort technology thanks to a grant from the Michigan Department of the Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. Our recycling drop-off center is open 7 days a week to the public, which allows residential recyclers to divert more waste than is typically accepted in curbside bins and offers an outlet for rural or apartment residents who may not have access to recycling at home. Our construction and demolition recovery service is another avenue for campus to reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfill.

Pre-consumer food scraps (rinds, peelings, seeds, etc.) and coffee grounds from MSU dining facilities are mixed with leaves and other locally-sourced dry organic material, then briefly hot composted before being processed by red wiggler worms! The result is Grow Green Vermicompost, a well-aged and stable soil amendment for plant growth for sale at the Surplus Store. Backyard gardens, farm crops, native and ornamental landscaping, and fussy houseplants will all appreciate the boost! Additional campus-generated food waste that isn't in the preferred worm diet is collected and transported to a local industrial composter.

The Surplus Store & Recycling Center manages MSU's waste as a resource through an integrated system of reuse, recycling, collaboration, and education. We work with University partners to integrate our operations to the academic mission and provide ample opportunity for students and researchers to use our facility as a living, learning lab.