Loyola University Chicago is taking action to address food waste by reaching beyond the classroom and into the local community. Through a $90,000 grant funded by the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust, Loyola has launched the Compost Collection Network, a new program that assists local businesses and institutions in setting up an efficient food scrap collection process.

Loyola faculty, staff, and students will provide consultations, staff support, and essential supplies to help set up and maintain a successful composting program. Ultimately, the goal of Loyola’s Compost Collection Network is to encourage local businesses to make use of composting, as well as expand existing compost programs at the Lake Shore and Maywood campuses. Heartland Café, True Nature Foods, and Uncommon Ground are the first local businesses to participate in the Compost Collection Network.

“I care about the future of our food system,” said Paula Campanio, owner of True Nature Foods. “By handling food scraps responsibly, I am helping to ensure that future generations have access to the plentiful supply and variety of food that we do.”

Driven by Loyola’s interest in social and environmental issues resulting from food waste, the University instituted the first commercial composting program at the Lake Shore Campus’ Simpson Dining Hall from August 2012 through April 2013. In fall 2013, the compost operation expanded to include de Nobili Dining Hall and Engrained Café. Through cooperation and coordination among various divisions within dining services, a total of more than 80 tons of food scraps have been transported to a Chicago-based facility to be processed into fertilizer.

For more information on the Compost Collection Network, visitLUC.edu/composting, watch this video, or contact Hanh Pham at hpham5@luc.edu.