Compost & Reducing Waste

On a national average, food waste comprises upwards of 7% of the municipal solid waste stream. But not at Middlebury College. A collaborative effort between Dining Services and Facilities Management turns nearly 300 tons of food waste into rich piles of compost for use in greenhouses and gardens, and as soil amendment on campus. Food prep scraps, postconsumer food residuals, waxed cardboard, paper towels, napkins and food prep waste paper—some 70% of the College's food waste—is composted. Plate waste (post consumer food residuals) is run through a pulper to remove excess water.

Even when Dining Services moves outdoors for picnics or large College celebrations, the compost program maintains momentum. Approximately 90% of the waste generated by these large outdoor events goes directly into the College's composting system instead of the landfill. Paper plates, napkins, paper cups and biodegradable trash bag liners are all compostable. Depending on the event, Dining Services determines the feasibility of using silverware instead of plastic whenever possible. In the past the College used biodegradable utensils made from cornstarch; however, the product line was discontinued.