Compost bin in Risley Hall kitchen.

Wasting Away: Student Managers Facilitate Dorm Composting

Armed with buckets and posters, Cornell’s 35 student composting managers are combating food waste in dorms in an effort to reduce the amount of organic material sent to the Ithaca landfill. About two-thirds of student residence halls — all but the townhouses and some West Campus houses — are equipped with composting bins, including large dumpsters and buckets, according to Naomi Haber ’20, Sustainability Coordinator at the Campus Sustainability Office. Every year, 4,000 tons of organic waste, including waste from residence halls and dining halls, is converted to compost through Cornell’s composting facilities, the largest composting operation in Tompkins County. The student compost managing team, which was established in September last semester, are meant to lead sustainable development in the student community, according to Haber. They keep track of the compost buckets and are responsible for depositing food scraps into one of the large bins on either North or West Campus once a week.