By Garrick Hoffman
Liberal Arts Major
Commercial and residential composting has really seemed to take flight in Maine. Various compost companies have emerged such as Portland-based WE COMPOST IT! and Garbage to Garden, both of whom have already developed a considerable customer base throughout Greater Portland. Businesses and schools alike have begun to implement composting systems, such as the Falmouth elementary school, who estimated a 90% reduction in solid waste, according to an article in [i]The Forecaster[i].
Now Sodexo, the food provider for SMCC, has begun to look into a similar measure.
During the final week of February, Sodexo, paired with WE COMPOST IT!, hosted a campaign titled Weigh the Waste with the intent to ascertain how much waste is generated after a week of operation in the SMCC dining hall.
According to their Facebook page, “WE COMPOST IT! is a local organics collection and composting company that serves restaurants, schools, hospitality, and health care facilities throughout Southern and Central Maine. Our mission is to reduce waste and renew local soils by transforming food scraps to compost to grow tomorrow’s food and flowers. Since 2011, We Compost It! has converted more than 10 million pounds of organics to nutrient-rich compost. With facilities in Portland and Auburn, Maine, We Compost It! has the capacity and expertise to grow with you.”
Rachel Fisk, Sodexo’s Unit Marketing Coordinator at SMCC, reported that at the dining hall, 800 pounds of food and paper waste was generated on the Monday and Tuesday of that week. On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, a total of 950 pounds of food waste was generated, totaling 1750 pounds for the week. This figure does not include the waste that is generated at the Seawolves Cafe, which according to Fisk, “goes through around 80 to go containers daily,” although this figure can vary.
When Fisk was asked about why Sodexo sought to implement this campaign, she remarked, “We wanted to educate the SMCC community on the benefits of composting and how, by doing so, dramatically reduces our carbon footprint. This past week was only a trial but Sodexo would like to continue this campaign and be more sustainable and environmentally friendly. But first we need the support of both faculty, staff and students. …Let’s make a difference together one step at a time.”
The Beacon vehemently advocates for a permanent composting system here on campus and we implore the students, faculty, and staff to do the same. The myriad benefits that accompany composting are jarring, and the act itself is lodged within the frame of our environmental conscientiousness.
If you would like to see composting at SMCC become permanent, please contact Rachel Fisk at Rachel.Fisk@sodexo.com, or contact The Beacon and we will publish your response!