COLUMBIA - One student's trash is a scientist's treasure.
The Bradford Research Center -- with the help of the MU Dining Halls -- is using cafeteria food waste as compost for Missouri farms. Superintendent of the Research Center, Tim Reinbott, started this idea nearly five years ago.
Reinbott received a grant from the Mid-Missouri Solid Waste Management District, and the MU Dining Halls covered the remaining costs.
Currently there are only two dining halls, Rollins and Plaza 900, that are having their waste picked up by the Research Center, but they plan to have all nine dining halls contribute by January.
The food waste consists of leftover food from students and also items that chefs get rid of after cooking, like onion peels. The compost facility takes horse manure and the food waste from the dining halls and mixes the two. After they are combined, they are brought back to aerated.
Foreman of Agriculture, Barry Barnes, says the process is still in its experimental stage, but with the help of students the kinks will get worked out.
Agricultural Engineering students will help measure what ways and methods will produce the best compost.
Barnes said he hopes it is successful because sustainability is needed.
"It's a cyclical process and makes our area more sustainable which is what is necessary," said Barnes.