Residential Composting program is underway

Hailey Steidle

In early January of 2023, Mercyhurst University announced a major step they are taking towards helping reduce their negative environmental impact. A residential composting program was announced to all Mercyhurst University students that allows them to compost their food waste for a small charge monthly. The program is a direct partnership with Saegertown Company Conservation Compost as an attempt to urge the Mercyhurst community to responsibly dispose of their food scraps and waste. Saegertown Company Conservation Compost was founded by Ryan Nageotte and David Washousky in 2019 after the duo met in 2001 during college orientation at Allegany College, where the two were environmental science majors.

The company is known as the region’s first large-scale commercial composting facility that aims to provide both cost-effective composting and solutions to waste disposal. A quick look at the company’s website shows that its mission is to divert organic materials that would otherwise be destined for landfills into locally produced compost. Since they were founded in 2019, the Saegertown Company has stopped roughly 304,000 pounds of organic waste from entering landfills. In their partnership with Mercyhurst University and the students that choose to partake in this program, that number would likely drastically increase.  

Students who choose to participate in the composting program can expect to sign up to receive a five-gallon buck with a lid and liners that are placed inside of the buckets to take back to their apartments. Anyone participating will be allowed to drop off their liners as they fill with collected food scraps to a set of designated bins located next to the Grotto Commons dining hall. Once a week, the bins will be emptied and brought to a local Saegertown Company Conservation Compost drop off sight. The cost to students will be a flat $10 a month with a one-time fee of $5 for the purchase of the bin, lid and liners that go inside of the bin.  

Composting is best explained as the collection of objects such as leaves, and in the case of Mercyhurst students participating in this program, food scraps, and turning them into soil fertilizer. As the ingredients break down and decompose, they create oxygen and nutrient rich soils that are filled with benefits. By composting any individual can help the environment in a multitude of ways like assisting in wetland reclamation.

Compost is used in wetland reclamation as a cleaning barrier between automobile pollution from the cars on the roadways and the wetlands that border them. This is especially important in a city like Erie as it borders one of the Great Lakes. It also helps conserve water by retaining and efficiently transferring water, combat climate change by lowering the amount of greenhouse gases that enter the atmosphere, reduces the amount of overall food waste and scraps that enter landfills yearly, and helps to promote healthier plant growth when plants are planted in the composted soil. Helping a local company like Saegertown Company Conservation Compost protect and clean the environment is an amazing opportunity to get involved in.