|In 2012, Santiam Correctional Institution was awarded a $20,000 grant from Marion County Public Works to become the first agency in Marion County to have an Earth Tub (as well as the first state agency – DOC – to have an earth tub). Work immediately began on preparing for the arrival of the Earth Tub, and training for both staff and inmates on its operations.
Housed just outside the SCI kitchen area, the Earth Tub is part of a program designed to make the SCI campus more environmentally friendly by reducing the amount of solid waste that is shipped to landfills by producing compost that can be used as fertilizer, mulch, and soil amendment.
To put it simply, the Earth Tub is a giant vessel. It’s a 68-inch by 90-inch, 450-pound, fully enclosed food waste composter that produces nutrient-rich compost, which is then used throughout SCI gardens and grounds.
Each day staff and inmates separate their biodegradable plate scrapings into a bin that is later emptied into the Earth Tub and mixed with yard waste from the campus, as well as shredded paper from the administrative offices. After the Earth tub is filled, the compost is removed, and stacked into a pile to cure for about 30 days.
Today, SCI is proud to announce that the Earth Tub has been in operation for six months and the institution has produced more than five full bins of compost.