Commence On-Campus Composting

by The Cowl Editor on February 14, 2019


Compost project.
Inside Frey Florist’s on-site composting project. Photo courtesy of Nora Johnson ’20/The Cowl.

Composting is a wonderful way for unwanted food scraps to transform plant life, a juxtaposition between the unattractive remains of food and the beauty that comes from flowers and other vegetation.

Here at Providence College, there are currently no on-campus options for students interested in composting their leftover scraps. While off-campus options, such as the “Compost Depot” at Frey Florist, are touted as close-range choices available for students, they are not frequently utilized by students due to the fact they are out of students’ ways.

Frey Florist’s Compost Depot, for instance, is only a five-minute drive from the PC campus. However, many students who live on campus do not have access to their own cars and are almost certainly not going to take an Uber with their compostables in hand.

This resigns them to an approximately 15-minute walk through the streets of Elmhurst with compostables in tow. Needless to say, this is not attractive to many students at the College.

Rallying students behind environmental causes is usually difficult, with many wondering how issues like disposing of recyclable items and trash in the correct bins will have an effect on their lives later on.

The issue with off-campus composting locations is that they discourage students who would normally support environmentalism. The idea of first having to collect their compostables, then bring them on a stroll through the city in order to dispose of them turns even the most devoted, environmentally-friendly students away.

Additionlly, with the large number of products that can be composted (fruit peels, certain napkins, and types of tea bags) and are consumed and used by students, multiple trips to the Compost Depot would seem necessary.

Without a car, though, students are not likely to make the trek every few days to dispose of these items in an environmentally-friendly manner.

This does not mean that students should stop composting, or that composting is a waste of time. Rather, there are steps that the College can take in order to promote this behavior amongst its student body.

One option would be to install sites on campus for collection of compostable items, and eco-oriented groups could arrange for the transportation of these items to sites such as Frey Florist’s Compost Depot at regular intervals.

During the academic year, students are shown just how much food is wasted in the dining halls on campus. Providing a composting collection receptacle within these locations could assist in minimizing the amount of food which is thrown out at meals.

Perhaps, a more ambitious plan would be to create composting locations here on campus. This would allow students to both contribute to the creation of compost, as well as to see the benefits of composting during the warmer months when the flowers and foliage of PC are in full bloom.

Though often overlooked, composting offers a way to recycle food and other disposable items, returning them to the soil in a way that benefits future plant life. Finding ways to make this eco-friendly option accessible to students here at PC will go a long way in creating environmentally conscious individuals, as well as contributing to campus beautification efforts.