For five years, the University of Nevada, Reno has been working with a local composting business on a variety of large-scale green waste diversion, green waste recycling and all-natural soil fertility projects.
Each year in January, the University's maintenance crew and Full Circle Soils & Compost collect branches, trimmings, clippings and other biomass to take to Carson City. There, at the Full Circle composting site, the material is composted and brought back to campus for annual turf reseeding, helping create strong, lush, all-natural turf in time for Spring Commencement on the historic Quad.
Marty Sillito, assistant director for the University's grounds services, appreciates the partnership established between Full Circle and the University. He said they have worked together on many green initiatives throughout the past few years.
"We hope to expand the lawns we treat and want to continue to keep a history of what has been done to show how the product is improving our soil," Sillito said. "We plan to have Full Circle Compost continue to help keep good documentation and supply our growing needs. Besides compost, they also provide us with garden soil, planter bed amendments and liquid fertilizer that they have produced."
The lawns around Fitzgerald Student Services, Hilliard Plaza and the Thompson building were just fertilized with custom compost blends for spring of 2016. In April, the Quad will be roped-off so that Full Circle may add their distinct Quad blend to the turf.
Cody Witt, manager at Full Circle, said that each year when they test the soil, their probing instrument slips more easily into the ground.
"It didn't used to be that way," Witt said. "But after five years of proper treatment with our all-natural, earth-loving custom soil amendments, the soil has become extremely soft and easy to work with."
Witt is proud of the recycling system he considers "truly full circle." He believes the recycling system they have implemented is helping transform northern Nevada into a sustainable, Earth-conscious leader of healthy landscapes, but he thinks the system could still be improved.
"My goal and what can easily be accomplished is for Full Circle to recycle all organic waste, including all of the food waste produced at the University, and make it all into premium soil products," Witt said. "The program can be expanded to recycle up to approximately 30-40 percent of all waste produced on campus.
"The resulting premium soil amendments could be used all over the campus, Desert Farming Initiative, and Main Station Farm to decrease chemical usage, decrease dependence on non-Nevada soil and fertilizer products, keep the program local, increase all-natural soil fertility and make the University of Nevada, Reno the most sustainable campus in Nevada!"
A three-time graduate of the University, '07, '08 and '11 MBA, Witt is thankful for his opportunity to give back to the institution that he believes helped him tremendously.
"Helping manage a business that is able to help the campus recycle their organic wastes, transform these wastes into premium soil amendments that then help the University be more green and increase their soil fertility the all-natural way is absolutely one of the most gratifying accomplishments I have had."