Compost is happening in Sarasota County.
The UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County composting program is using the power of sports to influence change. The composting team set up 42 composting bins at the June 9-11 USRowing Youth National Championships, at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota. The project helped raise awareness of composting among athletes and spectators by showing how quickly and easily anyone can compost.
Extension volunteers assisted in collecting food waste material in mulch-lined composting bins, specially constructed in the park’s maintenance area. One unique aspect of the composting project is that the food waste is collected and processed onsite, reducing unnecessary environmental impacts. Additionally, composted material resulting from the project will be reused within the park.
This event built upon UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County’s first composting project at the Florida Scholastic Rowing Association championships, on April 29 and 30. The size and scope of that project included the use of six composting bins placed among the food court, team competitor tents, and general traffic areas. The collections, though controlled and small, still diverted more than 150 pounds of food waste, creating approximately one cubic yard of material when mixed in the mulch compost bins.
The food waste collection and diversion program marked the first of its kind in the United States for an organized rowing event. The effort is part of a collaborative partnership between Sarasota County’s Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources and Solid Waste departments, Suncoast Aquatic and Nature Center Associates, Inc. (SANCA), and Nathan Benderson Park. The ultimate goal is to provide composting for the 2017 World Rowing Championships, set for Sept. 24 through Oct. 1 at Benderson Park.