Composting initiative turns food waste ‘green’
November 7, 2012
By Paul Vogl
DePaul took another step toward its goal of becoming an agent of social change in sustainability by initiating a composting program in its dining hall.
Food waste at the Lincoln Park Student Center is collected in separate containers by student diners and the kitchen team as a complement to the pre-existing recycling and waste stations. The food waste is then brought to an EPA-certified recycling company.
The composting program is a collaborative venture by Jim Winn, resident district manager for Dining Services; Bob Janis, vice president for Facility Operations; and Joe Mroczkowski, director of the Student Centers.
“Student Centers have been involved with recycling efforts for many years, but this project takes it to a whole new level,” Mroczkowski says.
The clear compost containers are located next to other waste receptacles, making them easy for students to find. “It’s right in the normal flow of things,” Winn says.
Most of the compost materials come from the kitchen, according to Mroczkowski.
“I am thrilled that DePaul is doing this,” senior Katie Paul says. “It just makes me glad to be a part of an institution that is acting responsibly."
In addition to a greener environment, Mroczkowski says another benefit is that students learn important composting and recycling habits that can affect the rest of their lives.
DePaul provides about 7,000 meals a day to students, and Mroczkowski estimates that 60 tons of waste will be sent to compost every year.
Composting is just one of the many green and humane initiatives undertaken by DePaul Dining Services. Other initiatives include cage-free eggs, fair trade coffee, Meatless Monday’s, local buying initiatives, sustainable seafood, trayless dining and reusable packaging initiatives.