By Evan Lybrand and Molly Collins

CLEMSON — Clemson University has been named the Outstanding Composting and Organics Recycling Program of the Carolinas by the Carolina Recycling Association.

The association gives the award to a business, organization, school, agency or large-scale facility in North or South Carolina that has designed and implemented a recycling program.

“The major benefits of composting are environmental, including soil enrichment, pollution reduction and repurposing valuable nutrients,” said Dave VanDeventer, Clemson’s recycling manager. “Our program functions on a closed circuit, meaning food waste is composted by Clemson and then given back to Clemson for use by the organic farm and the South Carolina Botanical Gardens. It is helping us work toward our sustainability initiatives.”

Introduced by Clemson recycling services in 2010, the composting program collects ground food waste from campus dining halls and transports it to a site at Clemson Cherry Farm, where it is combined with mulch and put into a vessel to undergo further decomposition. It then is arranged in piles for temperature monitoring until it is ready for use.

The award was based on collection totals for the 2011-2012 school year, during which Clemson recovered 67,125 pounds of food waste for composting. The collection total increased to 156,000 pounds for the 2012-2013 school year.

The Carolina Recycling Association, established in 1989, is one of the longest-running associations of its kind. The chief goal of this nonprofit organization is to promote recycling and the recycling industry and, in turn, advance waste reduction in North and South Carolina. It includes businesses, federal and state governments, local and state municipalities and individuals who strive to see an increase in waste reduction.