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Composting System in Full Swing for Fall 2015

Emmanuel College has recently been shifting its practices to a greener initiative, the latest being its implementation of a composting program.

Last October, Massachusetts passed a law requiring establishments that produce over 1 ton of organic waste a week to compost the material. Because Emmanuel meets that threshold, the administration worked with other Colleges of the Fenway on a joint request for proposal (RFP) for a new waste vendor to meet with the requirements set by the law.

Composting is the process by which anaerobic organisms break down organic material into a nutrient rich soil product. It remains an effective way to reduce landfill waste, as well as produce sustainable soil for farming.

Emmanuel has been working on eliminating organic waste since September 2014. Before there was a visible bin in the cafeteria, Bon Appétit was collecting excess food for back-of-the-house, or pre-consumer, composting.

Emmanuel currently works with waste management company Casella to remove the collected organic material.

In an interview, Kristen Zapata, Operations Project Manager at Emmanuel, explained the college’s new system.

“The materials that we generate are picked up twice a week [by Casella], and they’re brought to Rocky Hill Farms where it goes through a multi-day process and is turned into compost.”

The final product is then sold to third parties.

“We found that when we met with [Casella], they were really a partner in helping us get a better understanding of things we could do… easy steps we could take in order to revamp our program,” Zapata said.

In past years, Casella has faced criticism from small communities and environmental organizations for its alleged monopolist, and environmental unfriendly business practices.

Emmanuel recently released an infographic with exact numbers of how much waste it is preventing. The trucks that pick up the waste contain scales, and the numbers were then given to Emmanuel.

Last year, the college sent over 300,000 pounds less waste to landfills, and recycled over 100,000 pounds of material.

In addition to its new composting system, Emmanuel has recently switched to single-stream recycling, and has added water refill stations in the dorm kitchens, as well as next to water bubblers around campus.

In regards to any future green initiative plans Emmanuel might have, Zapata noted “we have plans to, over the course of this year, think about how we can bring [the composting system] over to the Muddy River [Café].”

Zapata also pointed out that the logistics of the Café’s to-go style would require a reexamination of its logistics, mainly the cutlery and preparation of food.

Posted by on September 17, 2015. Filed under Around Campus. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.