Increasing Our Sustainability Efforts — We’re Now Composting

Valencia is always looking to increase our sustainable practices and decrease the College’s carbon footprint. We’ve done things like add water refill stations to each campus and encourage employees and students to use reusable water bottles. Now, to take this effort even further and with the financial support of Valencia’s Plant Operations department, the West Campus Culinary Program adopted the City of Orlando’s Commercial Composting Program.

While the City’s program official started in spring 2017, Director of Auxiliary Services Jeffrey Filko, Director of Education for Sustainability Resham Shirsat; and Director of Food Services Timm Cantwell worked to establish a similar composting collection program with the College’s food services provider, Valley, Inc. They’re proud to announce that Valencia’s composting effort started this semester. While Food Services will compost food waste behind the scenes, Culinary faculty and students will manage their composting — having been trained on what is compostable and what is not.

“The composting program teaches Valencia students responsibility in considering food waste in relation to food cost because they are seeing it being separated from the rest of the waste,” said Ken Bourgoin, professor, culinary management. “This has helped our program consider even more items we could be recycling, and we have adjusted in other areas as well.”

The food waste from these programs is collected by the City of Orlando to support the City’s Zero Waste by 2040 Goal. The City takes the food waste to Harvest Power, where it is turned into biogas, a type of biofuel that is naturally produced from the decomposition of organic waste. It is the City’s hope that all the biogas produced from the City’s food waste will fuel the city’s garbage trucks in the future.

Valencia is diverting waste that would have otherwise gone to the landfill and turned into harmful methane gas. By participating in a composting program that turns waste into useable energy in our community, our culinary students are learning relevant skills and knowledge in the kitchen as the hospitality is rapidly adopting more sustainable practices such as composting.

Below are some of the benefits of having a composting collection program:

  • Save money by potentially reducing garbage collection up to 10 percent;
  • Reduce your landfill waste;
  • Divert your food waste to benefit end uses such as compost and clean energy;
  • Reduce use of compactors or dumpsters; and
  • Be recognized as an Orlando Green Works Partner.

If this effort is something that interests you and you are a resident of the City of Orlando, you can receive a composter shipped to your door for free. For more information, click here. Please note that biodegradable can liners must be used inside compost collection bins. If you are interested in purchasing biodegradable bags for personal compost collection, please make sure they are BPI certified, so they can breakdown properly.

If you have any questions about the College’s efforts, please reach out to Jeffrey at or 407-299-5000, extension 1709, for dining services efforts, or Ken at or 407-299-5000, extension 1915, for culinary program efforts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Posts

    Earth Month: The Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World

    Monday, April 18, 2022 A Message from Carrie Black, Director, Energy Conservation and Sustainability Earth Day and Month is a great opportunity to learn more about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals are the blueprint for achieving a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including poverty, […]

    Help Valencia Save Money; Shut Down for Winter Break

    Monday, December 6, 2021 A Message from the Office of Stustainability With Winter Break around the corner, it’s time to get ready to shut down — literally and metaphorically. As Valencia College will be closed Wednesday, December 22, 2021, through Sunday, January 2, 2022, you can help the College save money and energy by taking […]