Sunday, December 16, 2018

New Sustainability Progam to Compost 19,000 Pounds of Trinity Food Waste

KAT NAMON ’22

STAFF WRITER

A new composting program will be implemented in Mather Dining Hall, as well as in the back of the house at the Cave and the Bistro beginning in November. Prior to discussions of a new composting program, Mather was operating on a smaller scale student-run composting plan that began in the fall of 2015. The students worked with Chartwells Dining Services so that they would save and put aside the food scraps that built up in the back of the house and in the kitchen of the dining hall. They collected these scraps twice a week and on average ended up collecting six or seven bins per week. 

The program, although successful, came to be too much for students to manage on their own. The idea for a larger scale composting program was proposed by the Green Campus organization last spring. Students made a proposal to the Sustainability Committee that the College should hire an outside organization, Blue Earth Composting. Blue Earth Composting is a Hartford based food-scrap pick up service for Connecticut residents and restaurants. The company works to make composting easy and more accessible to organizations in Connecticut and would allow for the student-run composting program here at Trinity to expand. 

The Sustainability Committee has accepted this proposal and contracts with Blue Earth Composting will be finalized within the next two months so that this new program can begin on schedule the first week of November 2018. With Blue Earth Composting, compost will be picked up twice a week. Collecting eight pick-ups per month, it is estimated that 19,000 pounds of food waste will be composted under the new program. The hope is that students will remain involved with the program by educating each other on how the system will operate in Mather with labeled areas designated for compostable items only. Students who wish to get involved may also speak to on-campus coffee houses, cultural houses, fraternities, and sororities to see how they can implement composting into the spaces that their organizations operate from. 

Trinity College Director of Community Service Joe Barber added that the new program will help Trinity become a more environmentally friendly institution and added that “it could really make a difference in waste reduction and could have an impact on campus culture, if people see how easy it is. [Composting] is a very tangible thing to do for the environment, and I think that it changes the culture.” 

Trinity College’s Sustainability Coordinator, Rose Rodriguez, stated that a main goal in implementing a larger scale composting program is to “get Mather certified as a green restaurant.” Restaurants are awarded a number on a scale from one to four depending upon how “green” or environmentally friendly they are. The Bistro is currently scored at a three, while Mather and the Cave are not on the scale. Adding more extensive composting to Mather could potentially boost its status as a green restaurant, the end goal being for all Trinity dining areas to be highly ranked on the “green scale.” 

Barber added that “composting is a form of recycling, so we as a college are reducing our carbon footprint. If we are trying to be a more sustainable school, this [program] could play a big role in reducing the waste we put out there and provides ways for people to use their waste productively.”

Within the following months, more information will be available to students regarding the new composting procedures that will be required in Mather and how students can become involved in these composting initiatives.

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