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Composting program coming to OTC

By Steve Koehler

Ozarks Technical Community College will be getting into the composting business soon.

A new state-of-the-art composter, capable of producing as much as 2 tons of compost a day, will be constructed on campus as early as next spring with the material eventually being sold to the public, just like the city of Springfield and Dickerson Park Zoo do with their composting material.

The composter will be built by Custom Metalcraft and operated by SolSource Teknologi. OTC students from various programs, including welding, environmental sciences and turf and landscape management, will be involved in the project.

“The companies came to us and asked about providing a place for the composter,” said Shirley Lawler, vice president for academic affairs. “The science faculty and those in turf and landscape management were very enthused about the prospect of bringing the composter here.”

OTC has been mindful of campus waste and during Earth Day this year, students who belong to the campus group Society for the Awareness of the Natural Environment (SAME) conducted a waste audit on campus to determine how much garbage the school produced.

That information was shared with the two local sponsoring businesses as part of the research for bringing the composter to OTC.

Students in this summer’s Biology 295 composting class are conducting additional surveys of residences and businesses within a mile of campus to determine how much food waste and wood scraps would be available to feed the composter.

Stephen White, biology professor at OTC who is conducting the summer class, said students are learning to collect and analyze data through their work on the surveys.

Lawler said the majority food scraps would come from the kitchens at OTC, Drury University, Central High School and the Greene County Jail.

White said the composting idea “is a perfect fit for a community college.”

“It involves local companies, it’s local composting and would help reduce the cost for some businesses who have to pay tipping fees to discard their food waste,” he said.

Said Lawler: “The students would gain a better all around understanding of all aspects of composting from auditing the waste available to bagging it and selling it. It’s a win-win for both programs and the businesses.”

Steve Koehler is coordinator of publications for Ozarks Technical Community College. Contact him at


College Director of Communications

Phone: 417.447.2655


Steve Koehler

Coordinator of Publications

Phone: (417) 447-2666


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