The Clean Plate Club

New Food Decomposers Leave Nothing to Waste

CMC has taken Waste Not, Want Not to heart, by investing in a total of three food waste decomposers at Collins Dining Hall and the Athenaeum kitchen. The disposals, at $19,000 apiece, are another debit check in the College’s burgeoning commitment to go green when and where possible.

Modest in stature but arguably mighty, the machines process up to 220 pounds per load of food and paper waste (mostly napkins), producing a soil amendment useful for gardening and landscaping projects around campus. “The green benefit,” says Brian Worley, director of Facilities and Campus Services, “is that we have effectively eliminated most of our food waste-stream, further reducing our carbon footprint.”

There’s also a financial benefit. The decomposers mean fewer dumpster fees and also shrink water usage as well as fees for garbage disposal repairs. “Another plus,” Worley says, “is that processed food waste doesn’t generate methane gasses as it would in the normal decomposition process at a landfillmeaning, zero adverse effect on the environment.”

A one-touch, fully automatic control is all that’s needed to operate the decomposer. Kitchen workers simply scrape food waste into the decomposer and push the start button.

“CMC is dedicated to finding creative solutions to environmental issues on campus,” says Ben Feldman ’14, an Environment, Economics and Politics major. “The swiftness in the College’s decision to find and implement an environmentally friendly and practical solution to food waste stands as a testament to its dedication to being a green institution.”

Feldman, vice-president of the CMC Community Garden Club and co-president of Students Promoting Environmental Awareness and Responsibility (SPEAR), credits Worley and the decomposers as being integral to the club’s success.

“Brian’s donations of the soil additive to our garden club has renewed student interest in environmental issues, and inspires them to cultivate their own environmental-friendly practices,” Feldman says.