The student body of Goshen College wastes about 950 pounds of compostable material every day. This material all goes to a landfill, where the valuable nutrients are trapped among tin cans and sofa cushions, never again to fertilize the earth.
Starting next semester, EcoPax, Goshen College's environmental group, will implement a plan to collect this waste and compost it. The four currently empty bins in the Rott's dish return area will be turned into compost receptacles.
Signs by the bins will direct all diners to scrape their compostable waste, noting what is compostable and what must be thrown out. The bins will then be removed and taken to the yet undetermined location of the composting project. If all goes well, Goshen College will literally save tons of waste from entering landfills every year and end up with lots of rich compost that could be used to fertilize the grounds here and possibly be sold to the community.
This spring, a trial period will determine if composting on campus is feasible. If the trial goes well, and cost, effort and required time are all reasonable, composting may become a permanent reality in the dining hall and all across campus.
Although this project is being led by Tori Yoder, a junior, and an elite team of Goshen College students and faculty, it will take every students' commitment to succeed.
“It's really a community project," said David Weigner, a junior. " The whole student body needs to cooperate to make this work.”
It will be each diner's responsibility to choose to compost their scraps; no one will be enforcing the separation of waste.
Some obstacles still exist, but the intention of the trial is to work out these obstacles. People have expressed concerns about the smell of the composting material and the location of the composting site, but these issues will not be able to be completely resolved until the trial is under way.
Ultimately, the hope is that the composting program will be integrated with many different aspects of student life. The program has possibilities to extend into the classroom, in close connection to environmental science, ecology and business classes. It has the potential to help all students become more conscious of the choices they make.