Commentary

Campus Composting

I am often one to bring fruit back to my dorm from Paresky Commons. Unfortunately, it is difficult to dispose of. There have been countless times I have finished an apple, pear, or banana and had nowhere to put the core or peel but in the trash can. Andover has done a far better job than many of the schools I have attended in the past at providing the option of composting around campus, however, I believe Andover would be even better off if composting were more accessible to dorms and faculty housing on campus.

When I first came to Andover, I was delighted to find compost bins placed across campus from Gelb Science Center, Paresky, George Washington Hall, and the OWHL, I was impressed that the school had recognized the importance of composting and had taken the initiative to implement a system across campus. However, there is a great need for a more widespread compost system.

Composting itself is extremely important because of how the process works with the composted matter. Composting can also be considered a form of recycling because of how the organic matter is used after the composting process is complete. Instead of sitting buried in a landfill with other garbage, compost can be used to bolster many aspects of our planet. One of the key areas of society where compost is useful is agriculture. Compost, once broken down, becomes desirable fertilizer for farmers, especially those who keep organic farms. Compost is also extremely helpful to earthworms and microorganisms who are able to break down the organic material, making it liable to help the soil while also providing energy to the worms and microorganisms. Microorganisms are especially important because they aid in the process of decomposing garbage sent to landfills but can only do so if they have acquired enough energy to function properly.

I have always felt guilty when I have been forced to resort to putting leftover banana peels or apple cores into the trash, partly because I know it is unhealthy for the environment but also because I know that composting does, in fact, exist on campus. The biggest problem is that composting is not very well-known on campus, and somewhat inaccessible unless you happen to finish an apple right when you are passing by one of the locations. I would, of course, put an apple core in the compost bin if I were walking by Paresky or GW, but I would be less likely to walk to a composting bin after finishing a banana during study hours. Very few members of our community are aware of the compost bins. Moreover, the limited locations make composting a hassling chore.

I am specifically targeting dorms and other housing to be equipped with composting services because of the role they play for students and faculty on campus. Dorms are where students spend a fair amount of their time. If composting bins were available to students within their dorms, much of the remains of food students consume in their dorm rooms would be saved from having to be disposed of in a landfill. Having compost would also lessen the amount of items disposed of in regular trash cans by diverting acceptable material to a more eco-friendly disposal system.

In order to keep Andover moving forward in terms of our sustainability efforts, I encourage composting to be even more present on campus to decrease the amount of unnecessary food scraps sent to landfills. This way, Andover can continue to grow, make progress, and aid in the planet’s sustainability efforts.

May 26, 2017