Tons of compost are on the way in West Philly. We mean this literally, thanks to a new composting project soon to be initiated by who else but the folks at University City District (UCD).  They’ve got so many good ideas about creating viable, sustainable communities (to check for yourself click here and follow the links), they ought run for office, but then they’d be politicians and, well, we all know how that can go.

4308 Market St. used to be an overgrown vacant lot. UCD has paved the lot and installed two Penn-sponsored Earth Tubs at this address, with permission from the property owner. The Earth Tubs, 90’’ in diameter and 68’’ high, are capable of storing three cubic yards of composting material, or about 3200 pounds (1.6 tons), and will contribute to sustainability efforts across University City.

In the past

Recent shot

For the past few years, UCD has collaborated with folks at Pedal Coop, which we told you about yesterday. To accomplish this previously, UCD had purchased about 20 tons of waste for around $800 from the Fairmount Park Recycling Center. Now, UCD will eliminate that expense and distribute their own compost, manufactured from material collected from local residents and gardens. Folks at UCD are still finalizing details about when participating residents can drop-off/pick-up compost-related items, according to Seth Budick, UCD manager of policy and research.

Closer look

Budick explained that this initiative evolved out of UCD talks over the past few years about how to improve general sustainability and quality of life in University City. The same talks birthed Project Rehab and other initiatives.

“The beauty of it from our point of view is it’s really self-sustaining,” said Budick.

By the time the facility, which will be open at specific, yet to be determined times, celebrates its grand opening on June 20th, Budick tells us that there should be one batch of compost prepared, thus setting the stage for a monthly cycle that means one tub of ready compost, and one tub of composting material.

Closeup of tubs

In addition to the tubs, UCD plans to host a healthy dose of educational events, some of which will include planters and home-sized composting bins for people to learn how to compost in their own backyards.

Keep up the good work, UCD!

–Lou Mancinelli