Scholarly Horizons: University of Minnesota, Morris Undergraduate Journal


As costs of landfilling and incinerating waste rise, many campuses are beginning to consider alternatives for dealing with food waste generation. In August of 2012, the University of Minnesota, Morris began composting its food waste and food-soiled paper using the turned windrow method. While hailed as a sustainable alternative, with benefits including reduced need for chemical fertilizers, water, and pesticides, higher crop yields, revitalization of poor soils, avoidance of methane and leachate generation in landfills, pollution prevention, and extension of landfill life, many costs are also incurred with the composting alternative ranging from the need to purchase organics collection bins to the time needed each day to manage the actual composting site. The question, therefore, is whether it is worth continuing an on-site composting program at Morris. The cost-benefit analysis includes the steps outlined in Boardman, Greenberg, Vining, and Weimer’s textbook Cost Benefit Analysis Concepts and Practice: specify the set of alternative projects, determine standing, identify the impact categories, estimate the impacts, monetize all impacts, calculate net present values, perform sensitivity analysis, and make a recommendation. Despite significant costs, I found that the data clearly stands to support the project’s continuance. While the project is still in its fledgling state, this analysis can be used as a justification to continue the composting project and serve as a model for other campuses to follow.

Included in

Economics Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.