Campus compost still going strong

Nearly eight months after it first launched, UW Campus Compost (UWCC) is still going strong despite some obstacles. If you frequent the environment buildings, you may have noticed the compost bins scattered throughout.

The initiative is entirely run by students. Unlike many other universities (Laurier included), UW has not pursued campus-wide composting, leading environment students to take it on themselves. The project launched last summer after receiving funding from the environment endowment fund to purchase a composting drum, located next to Modern Languages.

The amount of organic waste collected has exceeded the group’s expectation. UWCC President Clover Mei said, as of now, the drum is full and there has been little issue with contamination from non-compostable materials.

The group is not without its challenges — they have support from the university, but the operations are all up to volunteers. Three times a week, students collect the bins from the various locations and empty the waste into the drum. Co-ordinating schedules for emptying bins has been a challenge, Mei said.

Being student-run means that operations have to shut down over the holidays. Not being partnered with plant operations means that no one is around to empty the bins and turn the crank on the drum, which breaks down the waste into usable fertilizer.

Right now, the UWCC is short volunteers. They began with five in the summer and this term got up to 15, but Mei said it’s still not enough to keep up with demand, and the program is expanding. In the last month, compost bins have been added to Hagey Hall and Modern Languages. Mei said Needles Hall is looking to be included in the program as well.

In terms of partnering with plant operations to alleviate some work and expand, Mei said it’s up in the air.

“At this point, I’m not sure. Right now, students are still capable of doing it.”

The program began with the hope that the university would want to take charge, but since that has not happened, Mei said they’re looking at the positive side of being student-run. A main pro is the application of student ideas. Mei said UWCC is looking for students to apply their academic knowledge to the system.

“Instead of just providing this service and making the campus greener, we can provide students with training,” Mei said.

“I’m pretty sure that, by the time [the project] gets big enough, the university will want to take it over,” Mei said of UWCC’s future.

UWCC is currently recruiting volunteers for the winter term. Visit their Facebook page to find out how to get involved.


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