Expansion to composting program to continue after early success

Compost+bins+can+be+found+alongside+trash+and+recycling+bins+around+campus.+More+will+be+steadily+introduced+to+new+spaces+in+the+next+month.+Photo+by+Naomi+Guttman+%E2%80%9916.
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Expansion to composting program to continue after early success

Compost bins can be found alongside trash and recycling bins around campus. More will be steadily introduced to new spaces in the next month. Photo by Naomi Guttman ’16.

Compost bins can be found alongside trash and recycling bins around campus. More will be steadily introduced to new spaces in the next month. Photo by Naomi Guttman ’16.

Compost bins can be found alongside trash and recycling bins around campus. More will be steadily introduced to new spaces in the next month. Photo by Naomi Guttman ’16.

Compost bins can be found alongside trash and recycling bins around campus. More will be steadily introduced to new spaces in the next month. Photo by Naomi Guttman ’16.

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Compost bins can be found alongside trash and recycling bins around campus. More will be steadily introduced to new spaces in the next month. Photo by Naomi Guttman ’16.

Compost bins can be found alongside trash and recycling bins around campus. More will be steadily introduced to new spaces in the next month. Photo by Naomi Guttman ’16.

The cross-campus composting program implemented over the summer will likely continue after meeting expectations for the first month of the academic year.

“Everything is going the way it should be,” Facilities Second Shift Supervisor Kyle Wright said.

Currently, there are containers for disposing compostable material in all buildings on campus, an increase from the four buildings last semester. However, Wright hopes to expand the program and put a container in every room over the coming months.

Wright said Facilities does not want to make the program “too big, too quick,” so the change will happen in moderation. Eventually, the Campus Center conference rooms, Weyerhaeuser meeting rooms and similar spaces will also contain compost bins, making the program campus-wide.

While the composting program is relatively new at Macalester, Wright expects that throwing anything “that was once living” in the green compost bins will eventually become second nature to students and staff.

“[The program]’s opened a lot of people’s eyes,” Wright said. “I hear all the time how people are composting at home.”

Wright pointed to changes in his own habits. He now habitually plucks items incorrectly placed in trash cans and relocates them to their proper place in compost.

“I just do it all the time,” he said.

While those that compost at home, like Wright, have found it easy to make the change to composting, complications still remain. Paper towels are biodegradable, but people consistently throw them into the trash on campus, Wright said.

“Not everyone is going to be on the same page,” Wright said.

A Macalester Sustainability Office list of compostable items includes “all food scraps, all non-recyclable paper products, coffee grounds, filters and tea bags, pizza boxes.”

Wright thinks that the most important step to getting everyone on campus to compost is “communication between peers about what’s going on.”

“If you really make a point, chances are the next time they’ll do it properly,” he said.

Compostable material is not taxed, so the college receives a tax break. Additionally, the program reduces incineration. Wright is optimistic for the future of the program and the effects it has already had on Macalester’s goal to have zero waste by 2020.

“Every week there’s more,” he said. “We’re on the right path to becoming zero waste by 2020.”