This summer, in partnership with the Office of New Student & Family Programs and Vol Dining, we successfully hosted 43 Zero Waste Orientation Meals. While serving approximately 28,400 meals for our New Vols and their families, we achieved an average diversion rate of 94.3%, diverting a total of 7,774.9 pounds of food to compost and recycling 1,069.9 pounds of plastic and metal cans and 250.2 pounds of cardboard. We achieved this by providing diners with compostable forks, plates, and napkins, and recycling the plastic drink cups. Any food people didn’t eat went into the compost bins. During the meals, representatives from our office were at the waste receptacles to answer any questions and direct people in the correct procedures. Introducing these new students to our Zero Waste practices during orientation was a great way to raise awareness of our office and the importance of acting sustainably!
Composting is an initiative our office is proud of because we compost right here on campus, preventing approximately 700,000 pounds of material from ending up in the landfill where it would release methane. The process of composting takes food scraps and other natural materials and it is turned it into fertile soil through natural, biologic processes! We then use this nutrient rich material on campus to help our flower beds bloom and to grow food for donation at the Grow Lab!