Northeast Higher Education District Sustainability Collaborative – Hibbing, Itasca, Mesabi Range, Rainy River, and Vermilion Community Colleges: These five community colleges comprise the Northeast Higher Education District (NHED). Student sustainability teams at each NHED campus will focus on one of five areas relevant to the carbon footprint of higher-education institutions: student housing (Rainy River), commuting (Hibbing), food service (Itasca), solid waste (Mesabi Range), and lighting (Vermilion).
In 2004, members of the St Olaf Environmental Coalition collected and weighed all the cafeteria waste for a week. Shortly after, the college purchased an in-vessel composter from Wright Environmental Management. The composter is installed on land just south of North Avenue, and is able to handle up to a ton of waste a day.