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Atlantic Cape Initiates Organic Recycling at CMCC

April 4, 2013

Atlantic Cape Community College is taking steps to reduce its waste and be a “green” campus by implementing an organic recycling program through Waste Management, Inc.

The college will test the initiative at the Cape May County Campus during the five-month culinary training program that began in February.

The goal is to divert more food waste, including fruits, vegetables and animal protein from landfills. Because of the technology, they can also compost soiled napkins and paper towels, waxed cardboard, bone and shells. Organic matter takes 8-10 weeks to compost. The remaining product is then re-introduced into the environment as top soil and other landscaping cover.

The college will pay $312 a month for the organic recycling program, a savings of 10-25 percent over sending trash to the landfill, according to Dr. Richard Perniciaro, dean of facilities, planning, research and Atlantic City campus operations. “This will teach environmental stewardship to students and recycles food waste for composting,” he said.

The college will evaluate the success of the program at the end of the class this summer and explore initiating a similar effort at its campuses in Mays Landing and Atlantic City.

Atlantic Cape actively seeks out recycling opportunities at its other campuses as well. Following a 2011 waste audit at the Mays Landing campus, the college now recycles all cans, bottles and boxes from the culinary labs and has a separate area behind the building for the receptacles. The Academy of Culinary Arts also has a composter behind the building to turn wet waste into garden soil that is used in the restaurant kitchen garden and in the organic green house.

Waste reduction is included in the curriculum for all ACA students. “We have reduced our consumption of disposables by 70 percent program wide and look for opportunities to increase that percentage continuously,” said Chef Kelly McClay, dean of the ACA. “We hope to implement similar programs in Atlantic City when we open the new hospitality training center in 2014.”