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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Green Groups Hope New Initiative Will Cut Waste

<ng the groups on campus working to reduce waste and create a culture of sustainability are: the Waste Monitors, student custodians who monitor the degree of contamination in the waste bins, and the Food Recovery Network, students who transport uneaten dining hall food (which would otherwise go to the garbage) to people in need. This year, both groups are expanding their operations.

Waste Monitors

According to Jackson Van Fleet ’15, waste stream contamination is a big problem on campus.

To solve this problem, Van Fleet created a new waste guide, located in every residential hall. The colorful waste guide walks viewers through any question they might have about their trash. “Was it edible?” “Is it made of trees?” – the guide leaves few questions unanswered and provides names and an email for any further inquiries.

In addition to the new waste guides, Van Fleet also gave a presentation on proper waste disposal to new students during New Student Week.
“It was a hit,” said Patti Sabrowski, a custodial services manager.

The new efforts are partly a continuation of his previous work quantifying contamination in dorm trash bins, but are also in response to a tough commencement weekend last year. During commencement weekend and move out, many items were improperly disposed, according to Van Fleet. For instance, one trash monitor found a $140 bouquet of fresh roses in the dumpster.

“Yeah it was pretty discouraging,” said Van Fleet. “Even though the Lighten Up sale raised over $30,000, there was still all of this trash going into the dumpster that could have definitely been reused.”

Van Fleet plans to continue his efforts this upcoming year. “I want to keep educating people and promoting Lighten Up as much as I can,” he said.

Food Recovery Network

Launched last winter, the Food Recovery Network has continually expanded to reduce food waste from the dining halls.

“Food Recovery connects the dots,” said Shira Kaufman ’16, who started the program. “It takes the problem of food waste at Carleton and makes it a solution to the problem of food insecurity in Northfield.”

Founded in collaboration with the Center for Community and Civic Engagement and Bon Appétit, the Food Recovery Network transports uneaten food in the dining hall to community partners in the Northfield area struggling with food insecurity. The group is excited to expand upon their previous work this upcoming year with new community partners like Whispers of Hope, a rehabilitation center for young girls, and Growing Up Healthy, a community organizing initiative.

In addition, the group will now be collecting food every day. To date, Food Recovery only meets in Burton, but is also working to meet in the LDC.

“We’re much more established this year, and we have a lot more volunteers, and can now recover Sunday – Thursday,” she said. “It’s going to be a good year.”

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