To volunteer for waste assessments, contact Kelsey Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The goal of this project is to reduce the amount of landfill waste coming out of Owl’s Nest, a restaurant at Kresge College, by creating a clear and convenient waste diversion system and educating all levels of participants about waste reduction.
Our project kicked off with a thorough assessment of all of the waste streams that left the restaurant between Frebruary 10 and February 12. We separated and weighed the different contents from the garbage, recycling and compost. Categories included but were not limited to: Hard plastics, plastic film, compostable containers and napkins, food waste, aluminum, glass, and landfill garbage.
From the assessment, we found that about half of the material in the garbage stream could have been composted (35.7% compostable materials, 16.22% food waste). The recycling and compost streams were primarily clean, so we decided to set our focus on getting compostable waste out of the garbage stream.
Next steps! We will:
-Work with Owl's Nest and other dining staff to create signs to post on and above the garbage bins, showing users what is compostable and encouraging them to dispose of it in the compost receptacle instead.
-Look into the effectiveness and feasibility of implementing a 3-bin system, in which there are 3 identically shaped bins right next to each other but with different colors and signs.
-Assess the posibility of having a compost bin in the courtyard outside of the restaurant, which currently only has trash bins that are usually filled with compostable materials.
-Possibly survey consumers and employees about their knowledge of the waste system to determine what type of changes to the waste system will best help them understand where to put their waste
After implementing signs and/or a new bin system, we will do another assessment to evaluate the impact these changes have on the overall waste diversion efforts at the restaurant.