New compost system starts in Gilbert Hall

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Beginning in February, each room in Gilbert Hall will receive two five-gallon compost bins. Residents will then have the option to compost their food waste and take part in the same composting system as the University Center in an effort to prevent the release of greenhouse gases and minimize the university’s trash cost.

“The project is an initiative undertaken by the Gilbert Hall RA’s in coordination with Gilbert Hall,” Director of Center for a Sustainable Society, CSS, David Knaus said. “The project is a way for Pacific students to begin to learn the basics of closed-vessel composting in their dorm room.”

This past September, Gilbert Hall RA’s went door- to-door and found several residents were interested in the idea.

“I think it’s a great way for students to create environmental change without having to go way out of their comfort zone but still feel like they’re making a difference,” sophomore Gabriella Brill said.

This will be the same composting system that the UC already uses, SOW1FARM, a local business operated by Pacific alumni Justin Roney ’14 and Chris McLinden ‘14, which will include Gilbert Hall in their weekly food waste collection.

With this system, residents will drop off their full compost bins in their floor’s trash room to pick up their second clean one where a worker from the CSS will then take the full buckets and empty the food waste in the larger bins on the third or fourth floor. After a week of fermenting, it will be taken to SOW1FARM and turned into organic fertilizer.

“[It is a] unique form of composting that eliminates the problems associated with traditional composting methods such as odors, flies and uneven decomposition,” Knaus said. “The program is designed to be clean, easy, effective and user friendly.”

If the pilot project is successful this spring, all northside resident halls will begin composting the following year.

“Other colleges have a type of program similar to this and have had great success,” Brill said. “This program will make the students think about each item they want to throw away and whether it can be composted, recycled, reused or goes in the trash.”


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