Eco-Rep Green Corner: What to throw in the compost heap

Have you noticed the different green initiatives that the Eco-Reps at Rider are taking? So far, we have added recycling bins, “Turn off light and water” signs and Quench water systems, and sponsored various events educating the student body and much more. As some of you might have noticed last year, we started composting in the dining commons. Now we’re involved in a program called Wilmington Organic Recycling Center (WORC). This program reduces greenhouse emissions as much as taking 8,800 cars off the roads per year would. And it is now helping Rider University reduce its carbon footprint.
Some of you might be asking, “Why do we need to compost?” According to WORC, composting is a natural process that turns organic material into a nutrient-rich soil amendment (compost) that is valuable to industries and the environment. Composting diverts materials away from landfills, which are a costly and unsustainable method of waste disposal.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, buried waste is the number one source of human-caused methane gas, a potent greenhouse gas that is a major contributor to global warming. When organic material like food and yard waste decomposes in an anaerobic, or oxygen-free environment like a landfill, methane gas is produced. Since composting diverts these materials from landfills, it reduces the amount of methane gas that ends up in our atmosphere. Composting food waste is generally not an everyday activity for most Americans. However, we are noticing an enormous change in our Earth’s climate and are taking steps to help reduce our carbon footprint.
You also might be asking yourself, “How do I know what to put in the compost?”

Here is a list of acceptable materials:
Food: Post-date and spoiled items, meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, dairy and all dry goods (pasta, beans, flour, rice, cereal, sugar, coffee, tea, etc.).
Paper Materials: Soiled or clean paper, cardboard (waxed or plain), egg cartons and fruit trays and/or paper/cardboard products.
Yard Waste: Brush, leaves, grass, clean wood, clearing debris, Christmas trees, stumps, bushes and flowers.
Paper: Tissue, paper towels, paper placemats and napkins. (No metal, glass, plastic or other non-biodegradables.)
If you have any other questions about the Wilmington Organic Recycling Center, please visit their website or feel free to contact one of the Eco-Reps. For more information about the Eco-Reps or how you can become more involved, please visit one of Eco-Rep Facebook pages, as there is a site for each of the Westminster and Lawrenceville branches.

– Danyel Shiflet
Westminster Eco-Rep

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