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Greenburgh Joins Mercy College In Waste-Saving Project

Mercy College students are working with biodigesters. like this home model, as a way of utilizing waste.
Mercy College students are working with biodigesters. like this home model, as a way of utilizing waste. Photo Credit: Bio Systems

DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. - Mercy College students are making a positive impact on the environment this summer through a composting project in conjunction with the Town of Greenburgh.

Members of Mercy College’s club ENVISAJ (The Mercy College Environmental Sustainability and Justice Club) will be working to actively engage Greenburgh residents in composting and raising awareness about bio-digester technology as part of the College’s overall mission to reduce solid waste in the community.

The Greenburgh Full Circle Composting And Reducing Solid Waste Initiative has students seeing waste as a positive money maker.

“Our garbage has value," Mercy College student leader Tasheem Hall said. "Throwing away our garbage is like throwing away our money. It is time we show people there are other ways to harvest clean energy without relying on government subsidies. This is how we continue the cycle of energy that we get from sun.”

The students are creating a blog detailing their work on composting and bio-digesters, publishing a “What to Compost” brochure, creating a “How to Start a Compost” brochure and holding demonstrations on:, How to Start Compost, What to Compost? and What is a bio-digester and how does it work?

A biodigester is an oxygen free tank that digests kitchen scraps using the microbes found in animal waste or lake mud. Inside the digester, the scraps and waste decompose without oxygen producing an environmentally friendly bio-methane gas. This bio-gas, can be used in normal gas appliances with slight modifications for cooking, lighting and heating.

Visiting faculty researcher Thomas (Taha) Rassam Culhane and his students have been maintaining two bio-digesters Mercy’s Dobbs Ferry campus. Along with teaching residents about the benefits of composting and how to set up a home system, the students hope to also establish locations in the Town of Greenburgh where bio-digesters can be placed and used.

The project leaders say they are also working on producing a public service announcement, lobbying for legislative changes, starting community compost bins and scouting locations in the town of Greenburgh where bio-digesters could be placed.

“We are thrilled that Mercy College students will be leading the way - helping to change people's habits by promoting organic recycling," Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner said.  "The students are not only learning about government but they are becoming a part of it and making a positive impact on the environment.”

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