Loyola’s Diverts 175.5 Pounds of Food from Landfills During 2023 Compost Bucket Challenge

The compost bucket program at Loyola hosted a challenge during Waste Week to encourage students to bring in more compost, and successfully diverted 175.5 pounds of food.

Loyola’s Office of Sustainability hosted a compost bucket challenge on Feb. 24, 2023 to encourage students to participate in the compost bucket program and divert more waste from landfills. 

The challenge took place on Friday from 2- 4 p.m. Students were able to drop off their compost at the welcome center on the first floor of the main parking garage on campus, and the three participants with the heaviest buckets would win a prize, according to the information outlined by the compost bucket program

Every year, the compost bucket program diverts between 150 and 200 tons of waste from landfills, according to Tallulah Stanford, a sophomore majoring in environmental engineering, who oversees the compost bucket program. 

“The challenge is specifically a part of Waste Week, which is organized by my coworker, and we got together and thought of this as an incentive for people to come and sign up,” Stanford said. “The top three people with the heaviest buckets will get a prize.”

The challenge resulted in 175.5 pounds being composted, which is above average. In the weeks before, 148 pounds was the highest amount of compost collected at the weekly drop off, so the challenge was a success, according to Stanford.

Approximately 40% of food in the United States is wasted and nearly 7 million tons of organic waste is sent to landfills each year in Chicago alone, according to Loyola’s School of Environmental Sustainability.  

Composting is considered an important sustainable action because it limits waste and breaks down organic materials such as food scraps to help soil retain moisture, provide minerals and nutrients for plants and reduce the need for fertilizers, according to the Office of Sustainability. 

There are approximately 70 students that currently participate in the compost bucket program, according to Stanford. 

Riley Hall, a third year marketing major and sustainability management and entrepreneurship minor, has been participating in the program since fall of 2021. 

“I wanted to take advantage of all of the environmentally sustainable things Loyola has to offer, and I didn’t like throwing away my food scraps, so why not compost them and give them to the school?” Hall said. “I find it easy to participate in the program because the hours for drop off work well with my schedule, and it’s not far from where I live.” 

Students are able to participate in the compost bucket program by signing up on the School of Environmental Sustainability’s website, according to Stanford. Participants receive a bucket upon signing up, and can drop off their food scraps and other compostable items every Friday from 2-4 p.m. at the welcome center on campus, according to the information outlined by the program

Featured image by Grace Mooney

Grace Mooney

Grace Mooney