Food Waste Recycling | Chandler-Gilbert Community College
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 Food Waste Recycling Project

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  • Overview
  • Working Group
  • Project Accomplishments
  • Awards and Recognition

The Food Waste Recycling Project continues Chandler-Gilbert Community College’s long standing commitment to sustainability as a campus-wide ongoing collaborative project that offers deep, cross-disciplinary, experiential student learning via an innovative solution for CGCC’s food and green waste. Students play an integral role throughout this process, which offers a unique opportunity to practice translational science, bringing new ideas to the public while fostering critical thinking and confidence in their innovative potential. The larger scope of the project requests that each subsequent semester will provide other valuable and unique opportunities to carry out projects that will grow the Food Waste Recycling Project beyond the CGCC campuses and into the Maricopa community.

Campus-wide efforts have included full-time and adjunct faculty, facility operations, food service, marketing, and media to optimize the student learning experience for this ever expanding project. The cross-disciplinary nature of the project took flight beginning in the fall of 2018 when students across such disciplines as biology, English, and engineering began participating in the program through semester-long supporting projects, including:

  • studying the broad impacts of food waste on the environment
  • analyzing and modifying campus community behavior around food waste sorting
  • designing and constructing a pilot food waste digester machine
  • selecting the microbes needed to perform the biotransformation process in the food waste digester machine
  • testing the effects of the organic liquid fertilizer on plants
Team members:
  • Dr. Yvonne Reineke (Residential Faculty, English
  • Bassam Matar (Residential Faculty, Engineering)
  • Dr. Miriam Kleinman (Adjunct Faculty, Biology)
  • Kanapathipillai Prabakara
    (Adjunct Faculty, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Charlie Poure
    (Director of Facilities, Retired )
  • Joshua Doddroe
    (Manager, Building Operations)
  • Jay Linford(Environmental Technology Center Technician)

Contributing team members:
  • Dr. Patrick Williams (Residential Faculty: English)
  • Dr. Mickey Marsee (Residential Faculty: English)
  • Mary Beth Burgoyne (Residential Faculty: Library)
  • Trina Larson (Project Manager, Administrative Services)
  • Raquel Gonzalez (Marketing Manager)
  • Markus Fossett (CGCC Coyote Cafe: Director)
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Photo from left: 
Top - Bassam Matar, Yvonne Reineke, Kanapathipillai Prabakaran

Bottom - Jay Linford, Miriam Kleinman, Michele Marsee, Mary Beth Burgoyne

Fall 2019

Spring 2019

Fall 2018

Spring 2018

Spring 2017
  • Maricopa Center for Learning and Innovation Grant: In May 2018 the project was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Maricopa Center for Learning and Innovation, contributing to the project’s successful first year.

  • Maricopa Community College Innovation of the Year Award: In Spring 2019 CGCC won the Districtwide Innovation of the Year for the “Food and Green Waste Recycling Program: An Ongoing Collaborative Project Model for Sustaining Student Learning, Success, and Creativity Through Experiential Learning”, receiving $2,000 for future innovation.  

  • American Association of Community Colleges, 21st Century Resource Center: In July 2019 the AACC featured CGCC's Food Waste Digester project, highlighting key milestones and accomplishments to date.

  • League for Innovation in the Community College, Member Spotlight: In September 2019, the project was featured on the League’s blog in their Innovation with a highlight piece written by Tyler Perrino, CGCC’s Digital Content Strategist. 

  • AASHE Sustainability Award Winner: In September 2019, CGCC was awarded the Campus Sustainability Achievement Award for the Food Waste Recycling Project. AASHE bestows its prestigious awards on the institutions and individuals that are helping to lead higher education to a sustainable future. AASHE received 350+ entries for the 2019 awards that resulted in 11 winners in four categories. 
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