Bristol R.I. __ Foregoing traditional practices of sending all organic and inorganic waste to the landfill, Roger Williams University is instead paying to have it composted.
For a long time food moved in a linear motion through Roger Williams University. It would arrive in the kitchens where it would be prepared and cooked. It then would be served, eaten and the leftovers would be thrown away. After that, the scraps from cooking and the leftovers not eaten would be thrown away with the rest of the trash.
That process is changing and instead of going one way, it will be going full circle. Rhode Island has made greater efforts to be more active in recycling. Organizations like the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporations have gone forward trying to promote recycling breaking down how to properly recycle some resources and even how to use them more efficiently.
Jon Cambra, Senior Chef & Assistant Director of Culinary Operations, is a big advocate of the new wast system.
“We are paying to have our waste taken in the state,” he said. “It is better that we pay for it to be disposed of in a more sustainable way.”
Composting is the process of taking organic waste, and converting it to soil. The most common method involves using worms, which consume the material and then process it. Though the process takes a year, by the end what was once trash is then fertile soil.
At RWU, the organic waste is collected in one of 12 large yellow bins. That saves over 3,000 gallons of trash a week, 156,000 gallons a year.
America generates 250 million tons of trash yearly. Roughly 12 percent of that comes from New England alone. To reduce waste, many are composting trash, turning it into useable energy and soil. It also prevents the wast from going to the Johnston Landfill which many expect to reach capacity in nearly 20 years.
The Compost Plant, based out of Providence, is a new venture started by Leo Pollock and Nat Harris. Their goal was to solve an environmental problem, while building a business.
Every Monday and Thursday, around 11am, they show up in their big truck. They then transport the wast to Fresh Earth Farms, where it begins it’s one year compost process.
That soil can be used to plant and support local gardens and farms. Many of those farms can then provide the school with their produce.
The full circle of all this starts in the soil. There the food is grown, and which is then sold to RWU.
At RWU, the food is prepped, cooked and consumed. All that organic waste is then put in a large container. That container is picked up by the compost company and taken to Earth Care Farm. There it is converted to soil instead of taking up room at a land fill.
That soil is then sold or given to farms and gardens all over the state. Those gardens and farms then grow food, which finds its way to RWU. The linear path of wast has transformed to a sustainable system of recycling.