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Campus composting programs effective in educating students

SAN MARCOS, TX – As food waste becomes a growing concern on college campuses, colleges and universities across the US are introducing integrated composting programs to collect food waste while educating students about environmental stewardship. A new study shows that campus composting programs can be effective in raising students’ awareness of composting and environmental issues.

“College campus cafeterias generate a large amount of food waste and some universities are making efforts to capture and compost food waste,” said corresponding author Tina Waliczek. “Creating an atmosphere where students are able to actively engage in the maintenance of their campus community and environment is one way to begin educating and introducing the concept of separating food waste and its environmental impacts on university and college campuses.”

Waliczek and coauthors Amy McFarland and Megan Holmes surveyed undergraduate and graduate students at two public state universities to determine students’ environmental attitudes, environmental locus of control, composting habits, and knowledge of the composting process. Surveys were administered at Texas State University (San Marcos), a campus with an active composting program, and Farmingdale State College State University of New York (Farmingdale), where there is no composting program on campus.

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