Collegetown residents looking to compost off-campus can expect a new addition to their community today — a compost bin courtesy of CU Compost, a student organization that aims to promote composting among the Cornell student body.
In coordination with the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts, CU Compost has put the compost bin behind Jack’s Diner at 210 Dryden Road. The bright blue bin is labeled ‘Cayuga Compost’ and is only for depositing food scraps, eggshells, meat, bones and soiled napkins.
According to Meghan Fitzgerald ’13, environmental engineering, the demand for composting opportunities in Collegetown is high because students are looking for better ways to get rid of compostable trash. Members of CU Compost create new initiatives to reduce how much trash people put into landfills.
“That’s the ultimate goal: to reduce landfill waste,” Fitzgerald said.
“Food waste is the biggest component of landfill waste,” she said. “It breaks down anaerobically and releases methane, a greenhouse gas. The more food waste we can divert from landfills, the better.” Fitzgerald also said that composting produces a nutritious type of soil that can be used in landscaping around campus.
Students can get involved with the Collegetown compost initiative by attending one of CU Compost’s informational meetings. At CU Compost meetings members instruct students on proper composting practices. They also provide them with directions to compost bins. The members will also give attendees the code to the compost bin, which will be locked as to prevent pedestrians from contaminating the bin with non-compostable material.
The group’s work stretches across Cornell’s campus, and they plan to but bring compost bins to Greek houses and dorms.
“We definitely want more of a presence on North Campus. We’re hoping to get a compost bin for RPCC. It’s all depending on student involvement,” Fitzgerald said.
Collegetown residents interested in composting can attend one of the groups two upcoming meetings on Sept 20, held at noon in the Mann Library lobby and at 7:00 p.m. outside of Collegetown Bagels. CU Compost expects substantial student participation in their composting initiative.
The meetings are also opportunities for Collegetown composters to meet other students with the same drive for composting, Fitzgerald said.
“We want to facilitate a sense of community because it will help people be more aware of their actions and more responsible for what goes in the bins,” she said.