Boston College Dining Services has announced that composting will be returning to Carney’s Dining Hall in McElroy Commons.
There are two types of composting, pre-consumer and post-consumer. All BC Dining facilities collect pre-consumer waste, which is generated prior to being served to students. Post-consumer waste is what is left after consumption, and is much more difficult to collect. Corcoran Commons is the only dining hall capable of composting post-consumer waste because it is sorted out by BC Dining Employees.
In the past, several efforts were made in McElroy to compost. According to McElroy Assistant General Manager Leora L’Heureux, past efforts have failed for a variety of reasons.
“This initiative is always something that dining has been interested in but the obstacle was coming up with a way that was sustainably effective long term. Over the years, student groups have come to us with ideas of educating the student body about composting and how to self-sort. And these ideas were effective, just not sustainable. As soon as the student groups stopped volunteering to educate, McElroy would see a continual increase of our composting being contaminated which left us no choice but to pull the composting bins out from the wall and just continue to compost behind the scenes.”
McElroy faces a similar problem with recycling bins. The company that handles BC Dining’s waste accepts only a certain amount of non-recyclable material contaminating the recycling bins. Students will often not properly separate their trash and recycling, causing all of the material to be discarded as trash.
However, BC Dining is optimistic about this new composting program. It has teamed up with the Office of Sustainability, and interns from both organizations gathered volunteers to work at a table in the week prior to spring break and educate students on these proper waste disposal methods.
The trash areas are being redesigned with a countertop with color-coded cut-outs so students can see where they need to place what waste. Volunteers will be positioned to assist students with self-sorting during dinner for the first week back from break.
The ultimate responsibility for the success of this program is in the hands of students, who will decide whether or not they care enough to put in the time to create a more sustainable BC by disposing of their waste effectively.