One of the great things about being a student at Colgate University (or just about any other school) is the ability to align yourself with others who share a common interest and create a group or club that can be very specific in nature. Whether your passion is video games or snowboarding or fly fishing, you can petition to have a club sanctioned that is dedicated to that activity.

This not only allows similarly minded students the ability to get together and enjoy their passion, but can also be a way to do good deeds and even try to change the world. These clubs can be intellectual, sports related or just about any other thing that might be an activity that can unite people.

It was with great interest and satisfaction that I saw a poster on a bulletin board in one of the academic buildings inviting people to join the composting club. (Composting is an idea that has been bantered around for a good number of years up on the hill). It was an invitation to join the club, but more importantly, it announced that the club was encouraging people to compost their leftover foodstuffs, rather than put them in the garbage.

The poster threw out some pertinent facts about composting: that it takes what would be called garbage and removes it from the waste stream, keeping those materials out of the landfill.  Since garbage trucks get weighed at the landfill, and charged to dump according to how much weight they carry, food wastes that are composted are not only kept out of the landfill, but also save money. Add to this the fact that the compostables are then turned back into the soil to enrich it, instead of using chemicals, and you begin to see the benefit of doing this.

The club is starting out small, with just a few locations where foodstuff can be deposited.  It then will be collected and put into a composting barrel that has been placed at the community garden on College Street, to be used right there. I am sure you have seen these barrels advertised. They sit on a stand so that the barrel can be spun around, allowing the waste inside to be aerated, so that it can be broken down faster and more efficiently. What results will be rich organic matter that will be tilled into the plot in the spring when the ground is prepared for planting.

Although this project is starting out on a small scale, the hope is to be able to expand to the dining halls on campus.  Linked to this, a larger plan hopes that the village of Hamilton will also start to give people the option to compost.  Just like putting out cans, bottles, paper and the usual materials that we recycle, we will also have the option to put out compostables too.  These will be taken to the wastewater treatment plant, where they will be processed into fertilizer.

It is still to be determined if this compost/fertilizer will be given away to whoever wants it, or if it will be sold, but with the purchase of a few key pieces of equipment, this idea will turn into reality. It is very close to happening.