In January 2012, The Commons, ENC’s cafeteria, introduced a compost bin for students to dispose of food waste that would later be composted for a farm. But, as students have probably noticed, these bins are no longer in the cafeteria.
“Something [changed] this fall,” said Rick Harmon, food service director.
While students were accurately disposing of their waste the first semester, more straws, plastics, and even silverware made it into the compost bin this fall, according to Harmon. Because of this, the compost and trash bins are now in the dish room, where student workers sort the trash and compost.
Harmon admits that the waste disposal system was “ambitious.” Although it worked well during the 2012 spring semester — when it was first introduced — the system had to be changed because students were throwing trash into the compost bin, and vice versa.
Only one new employee was needed to keep up with the extra amount of work in the dish room. Harmon said that it is easier now to separate the waste into paper, compost, and trash; and now not as much silverware is thrown away.
ENC works with Environmental Operation Management System for a flat rate to reduce the poundage of garbage in the dumpster. The cost to empty the dumpsters changes based on the weight of the waste in the dumpster. Switching to a compost system is also more eco-friendly.
However, many students are having a difficult time adjusting to the new system.
“I always feel bad giving them my trash; putting empty cups of ice cream on the belt is really kind of awkward,” said junior Alisa Monchamp.
Wesley Paul, however, is appreciative of having less congestion when bringing his dishes up.
“Now, I don’t have a panic attack,” he said.
Thanks to the efforts of Harmon and the kitchen staff, students can be assured that the compost bin is even more efficient than before.