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Danville Correctional Center Sustainability

The Danville Correctional Center has been recycling efforts for several years and is moving forward in the sustainability efforts of the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Danville currently has one baler which is owned by Illinois Correctional Industries (ICI)
and is located in the ICI building. One of the ICI programs at Danville is a cardboard box assembly plant. During this process there is a large amount of scrap cardboard to be baled. All other scrap cardboard in the facility is taken to ICI by our grounds crew offenders to be baled. As ICI has the bales picked up and receives payment for them our goal is to purchase a new baler to begin baling and recycling plastic bottles and our tin cans from the dietary department. Our tin cans are currently picked up in a dumpster provided to us at no cost by a local scrap dealer. We currently do not receive any compensation for the tin.

Danville diverts the wet waste of vegetable oil from the waste stream by sending all of our used cooking oil to Menard Correctional Center to be processed into biodiesel fuel. It is picked up by an ICI truck fitted with appropriate containers for transport. Along the lines of oil, all of our used vehicle oil is picked up and recycled. Once used oil is properly recycled, it can be turned into fuel oils or used as a raw material for the refining and petrochemical industries.

During the fall of 2011 the Horticulture class at the Danville Correctional Center began a small composting program using food waste from the staff dietary. The finished compost was incorporated into the gardens that the Horticulture class maintains. The prison recently decided to expand this composting effort by collaborating with the Education Justice Project (EJP) at the University of Illinois. This new effort, which will be supported by grant monies that have been awarded to EJP, will allow DCC to considerably expand its composting program. 

The University of Illinois is working with the Horticulture instructor, the Grounds Supervisor, Dietary & ICI to develop this new program. The Building Construction class at Danville will begin building ten composting bins in June and place them near one of the gardens. The grounds crew will regularly cart food scraps from the main dietary to the bins, where it will be mixed with cardboard waste from administrative offices at the prison. We anticipate that eventually there will be fifty compost bins at the prison. As the 100th garden plot was getting finished the material from the first compost bin was being applied.

The finished compost will be used by the Horticulture program and by DCC's Grounds Supervisor as a soil supplement in the greatly expanded garden areas at the prison. The goals of this composting program include reducing the amount of food waste going to the compactor, thus saving the facility money, and using the composting processes and the gardens as living-learning laboratories within the various educational programs that the University of Illinois and Danville Area Community College conduct at Danville prison.