An effort steered by students at The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va. has made the school’s dining facilities some of the most waste-conscious in the country.
Collecting compost in cafeterias is a big part of that.
The school hopped on the green track by bringing aboard student sustainability interns and going trayless in its two major dining facilities in 2008 and 2009, a move that severely cut back on dishwashing needs and saves 135,000 gallons of water a year.
In January 2010, the college expanded its on-campus sustainability program, switching to compostable cups and serving dishes, supporting small-scale composting at the school’s on-campus garden, recycling all used cooking oil to be made into biofuel and diverting all other organic waste to an industrial composting facility in nearby Waverly, Va.
“I believe dining services here generates 105 tons of organic waste very year,” said William & Mary student Aaron Bishop, one of the school’s sustainability interns. “A couple years ago, all that waste was going to the trash can, so that’s been a huge improvement.”
The college saves $3,000 annually by cutting back on trash removal in favor of industrial composting, according to a W&M spokesperson.
Check out this video from MeadWestvaco, the packaging company that manufactures some of William & Mary’s compostable food packaging, including cups and lids, on how the school manages such an ambitious and comprehensive dining hall program:
Homepage photo: Self-serve salad bar, Shutterstock