The Green Beat

By Kathy Kim

Starting Monday, Feb. 9, Café Mac will send its food waste to Barthold Farm to be recycled into pig feed as part of a new initiative to make Macalester a “Zero Waste” campus. Food Recycling is not new at Macalester. When Cafe Mac was originally in Kagin Commons, Bon Appétit sent food scraps to Stratton pig farm.

Since moving to the Campus Center, food waste has been sent to the Pulper, an on-site food waste compression machine that runs water through a trough containing all the food waste and paper napkins, churns the mixture, and squeezes out most of the water to create a compacted mass.

At the end of every meal about one garbage bag full of this pulped material is produced. This mixture ends up in the trash, which is then sent to a landfill to be burned.

According to an annual survey done by seniors from the environmental studies department, approximately 400 to 600 pounds of food are wasted everyday from students’ leftovers. This survey does not include the leftover food not served to students, the waste created from cooking or the leftover fruit.

The daily pickup costs of sending waste to Barthold will be $600 a month, but the school will ultimately save money on waste bills in addition to reducing the size of landfills and minimizing the college’s total waste.

“It’s a huge step in the right direction,” said Natalie Locke ’11, one of the student’s involved in this project, “but there’s always more to be done though. It’s important to make us part of a greater community.”

The next effort, Locke explained, will be directed at including Macalester in the cycle of energy by having pigs from the Barthold farms be served as pork at Café Mac.