What’s up in Welles? Waste Management

By Charlotte Steele

Chance Boyer ''17 and Owen Carroll ''17 commit to a clean plate. Photo by Charlotte Steele.

Nearly 100 students have committed to a clean plate for the rest of the year. In the midst of the launching of our new composting system, we are hoping to reduce the amount of waste we produce, in addition to composting the rest. These students have pledged to eat all of the edibles they take from the line.

As a campus community, we can reduce our overall food waste. Communicate with the servers as to how much food you want: tiny bit? Half a scoop? Two scoops? If you’re not sure if you want something, bring a fork with you and ask for a little taste on your plate.

Student waste reduction is the first step to reducing the waste we produce overall as a college. By taking realistic amounts of food, and eating it all, we can give the dining service a better idea of how much food they actually need to make, and help them reduce their food waste, too.

So, what happens to non-edibles like chicken bones and orange peels? Chicken bones have to get thrown away, but compostable edibles such as orange and banana peels will get composted in our new Earth tubs, which arrived last week. Earth tubs are a large-scale composting system used commonly for schools and other institutions. While we are hoping the Earth tubs will accommodate most of our compostable food waste, we can’t overwhelm the system with food, or none of it will decompose.

Something else came out of our waste campaign last quarter: an observation of how we leave the tables after we’re done eating… appalling! Interacting with the employees of the dining hall made me embarrassed to call myself a member of this messy and careless student body.

Is it ever okay to leave your things behind for someone else to clean? Why is the cafeteria space any different? Part of the Clean Plate Commitment is committing to leaving your space clear for the staff and other people who might sit there after you.

Collectively, if we can commit to only taking the food we can conceivably eat, (you can always go back for more!) we can continue to improve our waste management systems.