UW-Stout student conducting research for city-wide composting program in Menomonie

Last week we told you about how UW-Eau Claire is starting a composting program.
Now, a UW-Stout student is looking at a program as well. This composting program could include the entire city of Menomonie.

Kyle Mills is a sophomore at UW-Stout and received a grant of $4000 though the UW System solid waste research program. He hopes his research will lay the ground work for a city-wide composting program.

"What I’m doing is I’m getting the hard facts on what people want, what they're willing to pay, whether they'd be willing to pay for collection service, whether they'd be willing to pay for a drop off service," says Mills.

Mills will distribute surveys to local businesses, residents, and other entities to determine how to bring the different composting programs around Menomonie together.

"Stout in the past several years has been composting already or kitchen food waste and just this past January in the new memorial student center we've been composting publicly," says UW-Stout sustainability coordinator Sarah Rykal. Items like food waste, compostable napkins and dinnerware are collected and composted by Veolia in Eau Claire and used as landfill cover. "We would like to partner with other institutions, and other businesses and residents potentially in trying to compost as a community instead of sending our food waste to another place."

The community garden in Menomonie is interested in the university's compost. The city has a composting program for leaves and grass clippings, but not food and is working with mills on the research.

"Sometimes you need the data in front of you to determine if you need to start a program or enhance a program and Kyle's going to do the hard work and hard labor if the interest is out there," says Randy Eide, Menomonie public works director.

Mills has a background in economics and will also audit what a composting program would cost as far as materials, labor, and other costs. The study should be completed in May.

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