Students who have been living on the New College campus may be aware of the composting and recycling programs, two very vital parts of local environmental activism students can directly contribute to. The Catalyst caught up to members of the Council of Green Affairs (CGA) to ask questions about how these two systems work.
“Feed your compost bin like a vegetarian,” second year transfer and compost TA, Juniper Monroe said at the most recent CGA meeting in HCL7. “Does a vegetarian eat plastic bottles? No, then don’t put them in the compost bin.” Plastic bottles, aluminum cans, glass, paper and cardboard should be placed in the recycling bins located next to the large trash bins. Monroe explained that failing to do this could expose students to health risks associated with rotting meat and dairy.
“Hopefully soon we’ll be implementing a black soldier fly larvae system for Ham to break down meat and dairy,” Monroe said. “If it came from a plant, if it came from the ground, the ground can decompose it again because nature is always a full circle.”
“Compost tutorial collects once a week,” Monroe said. “We take it to the shed behind the tennis courts and it breaks down until it’s a big organic mush and then we mix it in with some soil and dry leaves and mulch and then we let it decompose for a couple months.”
If you were wondering what Ham Center does with all the extra food-waste they produce, they don’t compost it, Monroe reveals. “They haven’t put anything in the compost bins this year or last year. I would really like them to start giving us their extra food because they have tons of it and it can be used.” Monroe did put a compost bin outside of Hamilton “Ham” Center, but students mistook it for a recycling bin.
In addition to talking about composting, the CGA presented its members with many other plans to advance the environmental friendliness of the campus.
“At our last ROW [Reducing Our Waste] meeting someone mentioned how they put a sign that says “landfill” on the trash,” Allegra Nolan, the Zero Waste TA, said as she described her proposal to change the mindset around trash cans. “Like to say ‘this is going to a landfill,’ where it’s going to sit for years and years, possibly forever.”
Nolan also discussed how landfills are disproportionately placed next to underprivileged communities who don’t have the resources to withstand the harmful effects of a landfill system.
“I think that there’s this false impression because there’s so much activism associated with our campus,” she said. “Everyone’s an activist and everyone cares about everything and we’re all a bunch of hippies who love recycling and composting but in reality many people don’t realize how important it is ”