On Wednesday, December 2nd, Tufts Recycles! intern Savannah and recycling associate CJ gave a presentation about composting at Tufts. In attendance were representatives from the Office of Sustainability, Tufts Dining, Save That Stuff, the Office of Community Relations, The Rez, Tufts Eco-Reps, Campus Services and the Tufts Sustainability Collective.
The presentation included a summary of the compost program at Tufts, tips on how to compost effectively, how to prevent the spread of pests and how to line compost bins and dispose of compost.
One piece of advice that Savannah gave was to include hair and nail clippings, which are entirely compostable, as they deter fruit flies.
CJ added that biobags, which are compostable bags that can be used to line compost bins, should be reused because they tend to be expensive. Save That Stuff representative Adam Mitchell suggested only buying bags that are certified by the US Compost Council.
After the presentation, a representative from each group spoke about their involvement in composting and what they hope could be improved about it. Murvi Babalola, a co-coordinator of the Eco-Rep program, said one of the challenges the eco-reps face is educating the large number of people who use their bins.
Jordin Metz, a representative from Tufts Sustainability Collective, spoke about the group’s info session on composting at Tufts, which took place on December 4th at 2 p.m. in Campus Center 112.
Betsy Byrum of the Office of Sustainability presented next, speaking about the OOS’s eco-ambassador program for Tufts employees and the challenges people face when they want to start a composting program in a department.
“Typically, people will come and ask us about starting a program, but they can’t always care for their bin,” Byrum said.
Patti Klos, the Director of Dining and Business Services, highlighted the strides Dining Services has made in terms of food waste management and composting. In addition to providing composting at both dining halls, Tufts Catering, Mugar Cafe, the Campus Center and The Rez now all compost their food scraps.
Though the dining halls are still not classified as zero waste, Klos said 30-35 percent of the captured waste comes in the form of meat bones and other inedible items. She hopes to increase student awareness about the importance of composting, but also about the importance of not wasting food, even if it is being composted.
“Some students say that they aren’t as concerned with food waste since they know it’s being composted,” she said.
Hannah Recht, a student representative from The Rez, spoke about how the student-run coffee shop has started composting all its coffee grounds and encouraging people to reduce the use of disposable cups.
Finally, the Office of Community Relations representative, Sue DeAmato-Fuller, spoke about complaints they have received from members of the community about rats and other vermin believed to be introduced because of Tufts students.
“We just want to make sure composting is well-maintained,” she said.
CJ closed the forum by emphasizing that Tufts Recycles! hopes this will be the first of many forums on the topic.