Composting - It's only natural!


This is the first in a series of articles meant to introduce you to the various categories that we will use to sort our waste here at RRU. Let’s start with compost.

Compostable materials are derived from organic materials such as corn or wood fibers and so will breakdown naturally. You might be asking yourself, “Why should I separate compostables from other recyclables if it’s going to breakdown anyways?”

First, it reduces the amount of waste that enters the landfill. More waste entering the landfill means that we need to build more landfill facilities. We live on an island and space for extra landfill facilities is something that we don’t have.

Second, organic material in the landfill can actually harm the environment. In the landfill, compostable materials are mixed with all of the other waste. Air cannot reach them and so methane gas is produced as these compostable materials break down. Methane is a harmful greenhouse gas; in fact, it’s 21 times more harmful than CO2 to the environment. If that wasn’t bad enough organics in the landfill can react with metals, potentially polluting our groundwater.

You probably already know that many of the items on your lunch tray are compostable but you may be surprised by a few. All of the items pictured above are fully compostable.

Obviously, leftover food and food scraps are compostable but so are your napkins, to-go cutlery and the ‘clam-shell’ container that held your to-go meal. As you can see, many of the containers used in the Habitat Café for sandwiches and wraps, and veggies and fruits in the cooler are compostable as well – just look for the green stripe!

Thanks for your help in reducing our impact on our beautiful campus and stay tuned for the next installment when we’ll be talking about the exciting world of recyclables!