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OTC To Build Giant Composter

OTC Fountain

Ozarks Technical Community College plans to start using an old, eco-friendly technique to educate its students, but with a new twist. KSMU's Ryan Welch has more.

OTC has recently decided to build a new, modern-day composter on its campus. Dr. Shirley Lawler, Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, says this is part of OTC's effort to "go green." The composter will also provide a unique learning opportunity for the students, as well as some money to keep the project going. The compost the students make, Lawler says, will hopefully be bagged and sold to local businesses.

“The business and industry leaders coming to the table want to help design products that could be sold. It would be a win-win. They’re creating a product that could be beneficial to businesses, industries, [and] small towns that want to look at a better way to dispose of waste materials rather than huge landfills. And then, as well, we’re training students to be more conscious of their environment,” Lawler said.

OTC students conducted a waste audit on campus on Earth Day earlier this year. They found that 634 pounds of waste had built up in a single day. Over 200 pounds were from food that had been thrown away, and over 100 pounds were from paper.

The composter will be capable of producing up to two tons of compost a day. Lawler says the composter looks like a large propane tank that one would find on a farm, sitting on stilts, with a large door in order to add the compost materials.

Lawler says even though OTC officials are not sure where it will be located just yet, they do know they want the large machine to be as close to the classrooms as possible so it’s easily accessible to students.

“We’re very excited about the project and we’re thrilled that the business and industry leaders who are looking at environmental projects and ‘green’ projects are coming to us. Because as a community college, we do have programs where we’re training students and our goal is to equip them with the skill sets they need to work in our community…We think we’re on the verge of a cutting edge project here that would be very beneficial to the community,” Lawler said.

She said there is still a lot of work to do, but that the composter will hopefully be up and running by next spring.

For KSMU News, I’m Ryan Welch.