Project Green: U of L compost program digs in dumpsters to reduce waste


by Ben Pine

Posted on March 28, 2011 at 5:38 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11)-  Turning trash into treasure is something that is happening now at the University of Louisville. 

Thanks to a new composting program, the university is taking another step towards sustainability.
Brian Barnes digs in a dumpster for a very good reason. 

Barnes's day job is a Philosophy professor at U of L, but he is also the manager of U of L’s Food Waste Composting program, which he started last July. 
Each Sunday, Barnes takes food waste from U of L’s Belknap campus, carries it in his Jetta, drives it to the compost facility, dumps it in a compost bin and mixes it with yard waste. 

That is why he is digging in the dumpster.  Barnes says it all starts with food scraps from the campus’ kitchen.
"The stuff they chop up in the kitchen and the leftovers they don't get to give to the students, they collect it for us at two sites.  Plus, we collect all the coffee grounds from Sodexho and we're able to collect that along with some yard waste at another dump site and turn it into compost," said Barnes.
Barnes says most of the waste will make normal compost, while 20 percent will be a little different.
"We're going to feed that compost to red wiggler worms, and they're going to poop that out and create super soil for us," said Barnes.
Chopping the compost line out of grounds and keeping budget, while reducing landfill waste and growing healthier plants, is the end goal of U of L’s composting program. 

Barnes hopes to recruit more volunteers to work at the composting site on Sunday afternoons. He can be reached at 502-338-1338 or e-mail him at