Most people will not admit it, but the simple act of throwing away trash can be confusing when you are faced with multiple choices in this age of environmental sustainability.
To make this universal process easier, Compost Auraria, tri-institutional student coalition, has secured a $20,000 grant to create a program to help the campus community understand the choices.
Formed with the intent of institutionalizing organic waste diversion, in partnership with the Sustainable Campus Program (SCP), Compost Auraria has announced “Auraria Composts!” a one-year program to divert organic wastes (or resources) from the landfill.
Last fall, Compost Auraria received approval from the Sustainable Campus Program and the Student Advisory Committee to the Auraria Board (SACAB) for their proposal to implement a year-long pilot compost program with Waste Farmers, a compost service provider.
Understanding how compost works is important according to Shawn Hendrickson, president of Compost Auraria, because “compost is a valuable resource used in gardening, landscaping and agriculture, and has life-giving properties unlike any chemical alternatives.”
Primarily designed by students, the program will be held in the Tivoli Student Union’s food court, and includes two Tivoli restaurants (Pete’s Arena and Cimarron Café) and the main restrooms outside the Tivoli Turnhalle. Compost Auraria will have volunteers standing next to the bins so when people go to throw away their trash, they’ll learn on the spot which bin they should use,” says Hendrickson, junior political science major at Metro State. “It all comes down to establishing a habit.”
Activities kick off on Jan. 18 in the Tivoli at 10:30 a.m., and will go on for about a month from approximately 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday-Thursday. After a month the bins will remain for the remainder of the year, but the volunteers will no longer be there.
Hendrickson says Waste Farmers will have a regularly scheduled pick up of “the food scraps, soiled paper, such as napkins and paper towels, and other organic materials that students and faculty at Auraria drop into strategically placed green bins throughout the Tivoli."
The company will also provide a monthly summary of the quantities diverted and the greenhouse gas emissions avoided, providing valuable data, which campus representatives will use in considering program expansion after the first year of collection.
“This is a significant step for Auraria Campus, and Denver, generally, as it represents a step toward greater sustainability that very few college campuses have implemented—especially campuses the size of Auraria,” Hendrickson says.
This latest sustainability effort is in keeping with Auraria's national reputation for sustainability, showing there’s no limit to how green you can go. It was only in 2009 when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership ranked Auraria as the top Colorado college campus purchasing renewable energy, and seventh in the nation.
To learn more about the Compost Auraria program, contact Hendrickson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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