Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Hamline's composting pilot is now underway!

CGEE Student Voice
Waste Diversion
Campus Sustainability
by Jenni Abere

After a year of planning and several near-starts, we officially started our organics composting pilot on the second floor of Anderson Center, during Earth Week.

Hamline head of Dining Services, Ed Kreitzman, posing with the new bins.
The pilot is sort of a hodgepodge, using the same bins and simply covered up the old signs with new signs. If it goes well, composting will be a permanent part of Hamline's waste diversion and we may get new bins to fully integrate it.

Dining Services and Catering switched their inventory over to all compostable items: cups, bowls, plates, straws, utensils ... These items are used at the Piper Grill in the evening hours, as well as to supplement the washable dishes in the dining hall.

I've spent some time standing by the bins and helping people with the new change -- and observing how people react to it. Most people are very excited to see this. Some people are confused, but it's easy to learn. It actually requires less sorting than our old system since basically everything is compostable now.

There doesn't appear to be any contamination in the composting bins, which is great. There's no sorting process for composting and plastic contamination is a big problem for soil quality. However, much of what ends up in the recycling and trash bins should be composted. People are still confused about napkins, since they are used to throwing them in the trash for so long. The compostable "plastic" greenware also confuses people and has ended up in recycling bins.

I'm a little worried that if there are any problems, we'll stop collecting compost. But I think that people are already picking up on it, and that it will be a success. We're hoping to demonstrate that this change will actually save us money, since there is a tax on trash and not on composting. If everybody pays attention to the change, and starts off on the right foot, composting will be a part of Hamline for years to come.

No comments:

Post a Comment