Linfield College students composting food scraps in dorms to red - KPTV - FOX 12

Linfield College students composting food scraps in dorms to reduce waste

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MCMINNVILLE, OR (KPTV) -

Linfield College is trying out something new to help the environment. Students are now composting food scraps in the dorms.

It's all to help McMinnville become the first city in Oregon to reduce its waste by 90 percent.

Freshman Meg Angier is the student in charge of making sure the compost bin in the common area of her residence hall gets tended to once a week. She says that helps cut down on the smell significantly.

The environmental science major is the residence hall's Green Chair a position that helps coordinate this project and other sustainability related projects around campus.

"The goal is to go to zero waste McMinnville, we're trying to get 90 percent of all recyclable materials out of the landfill by 2024, so I've been trying to help out with that," said Angier. "That means egg shells, banana peels, all things we're now putting in the compost bin."

Angier and a handful of other Green Chairs on campus meet every couple of weeks to discuss progress with Linfield's Sustainability Coordinator Duncan Reid. Reid was once a student at Linfield himself.

"The Composting program is integral to a zero waste effort, for us, that's where this all started," said Reid. "We have a landfill in our backyard literally less than two miles away."

Reid helped pioneer the composting program at Linfield. First, in the cafeteria, then the dorms and now he's working to incorporate composting in off-campus student housing.

"It seems like the natural next step, students are seeing this a lot in their hometowns, so why not see it on a college campus," he added. 

Reid tells FOX 12 the cafeteria produces roughly 500 pounds of compostable material every day. The dorms and apartments combined produce about the same. A lot of material, considering there's only about 1,700 students enrolled at Linfield all together.

"To my knowledge we are the only campus that offers composting to all residents and to all of our diners on campus," said Reid.

That material all gets split up different ways. Food scraps from the cafeteria get sent out to a local pig farm for feed. Scraps from the dorms get sent out to Recology, a recycling and trash collection company that processes waste to keep it out of the landfill.

The university then buys back that processed material to use as soil in its garden. 

"This is a huge part of trying to get environment back to where it was before," said Angier. "We're coming together as community and this improves the community as a whole."

To Angier, that's a sight more powerful than any smell.

"I just think it's really awesome to compost and it's really important for the environment, if you can do it you should," he said.

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