HARTFORD, CT — Composting has returned to a set of dorms on the Trinity College campus by the student let group called Green Campus.
Green Campus is a sustainability club that is dedicated to bringing issues of climate change, environmental protection, and now, composting to campus.
Green Campus began their composting initiative with the main dining hall. After collaborating with food service provider Chartwells, the student government, faculty leaders, and local composting company Blue Earth Compost, added two large composting bins.
It means students were able to throw their food scraps in one bin and trash in another.
Julie Cammarata, an environmental lobbyist and consultant for a company called Quantum Biopower, explains that Trinity is not the only school in Connecticut that is interested in composting. Specifically, Yale, Wesleyan, University of Connecticut, and Quinnipiac have all begun to send their food waste products to an anaerobic digester in Southington, Connecticut.
This digester, compared to an ordinary compost site, collects the methane gas released from the biodegrading process and turns it into energy. According to Cammarata, Trinity expressed interest in sending waste to the anaerobic digester but decided to use Blue Earth Compost, which also sends 89% of the waste it collects to the digester.
To continue the tradition of composting at Trinity, in 2019 a group of environmental science students and Green Campus came together to plan and implement a composting system in the college’s 8-person townhouse style dorms. There was a pause in the program during the pandemic, but the program has been brought back with new policies and procedures to better accommodate students.
Amelia Huba, a member of the executive board for Green Campus, said that the difference between the compost system this semester and semesters past is that townhouses can now opt into the program at any time.
“This semester is different because it is the first in which houses can opt-in at any time! So people can join any week in the semester, it’s not just a one-time signup,” she said.
Huba explained that pre-pandemic, all houses had a compost bucket already in the kitchen of the townhouse. After the pandemic, the group switched to the new opt-in system, and they noticed an increase in actual composting being done even though fewer houses were participating.
“While there are less total houses participating,” Huba said, “ there is more actual composting being done within these 20 houses than the 47 of last year combined. When students choose to ”
Green Campus hopes to add more houses to the composting rotation over the next few weeks and increase student involvement.