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    • Blue Earth Compost helps Hopkins further sustainability efforts

Hopkins Goes Green with Composting

Anjali Subramanian '21 Assistant Features Editor Annika Sun '23 Staff Writer
After a three year hiatus, Hopkins is composting again.
There are two avenues for composting in the dining hall. The first is in the kitchen, where Director of Dining Services Mike King implemented the program Waste Not. King explained, “Out of date food and production wastes, such as lettuce hearts, ends of vegetables, and melon peelings, go into the compost.
We measure and track the amount we use on a daily basis.” Hopkins also uses green bins in the dish drop area, where students can dispose their food. These bins are filled with food scraps every week. All of the waste from those bins is sent to Blue Earth Compost in Hartford, CT. “Everyday after lunch, the crew takes everything that is in the green bins and any waste from the kitchen and puts it into receptacles that Blue Earth Compost picks up and takes to their own facility,” said King. “We fill 11 to 12 bins every week which is about 500 pounds over the course of a five day week.”

Blue Earth Compost collects food waste from residents and businesses around Connecticut. The company then composts the food scraps and other organic wastes, and sells the resulting soil. In composting, organic matter is decomposed. Organic matter can be anything from left over food to lawn clippings. These materials are decomposed, and then turned into nutrient-rich soil. Composting has many benefits for the environment such as decreasing pollution
and conserving water sources. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Food scraps and yard waste together currently make up more than
twenty-eight percent of what we throw away, and should be composted instead.” Composting organic material keeps it out of landfills where it would release methane, and helps prevent climate change.

Director of Facilities Liz Climie chose to partner with Blue Earth Compost, as she felt there was a need for Hopkins to get involved in composting. “We decided to bring composting back to Hopkins for a few reasons. It is the right thing to do for the environment and it reduces the carbon footprint of the school.
It is such an easy and cost effective way for Hopkins to do their part in protecting the environment,” said Climie. “Composting decreases landfill waste and cuts down on air pollution.” Climie believes the impact on Hopkins will be “a reduction in the waste stream that goes into the regular dumpsters.” Additionally, Climie explained that composting does more than create soil, since “the methane produced from our scraps is also being used to generate power for a community in central Connecticut.”

According to King, “the Blue Earth Compost company was chosen because they were doing everything right.” Blue Earth turns Hopkins’ food waste into “usable and sterilized material that they sell.” Blue Earth’s states that its mission “is to make composting easier and more accessible in Connecticut, so we can improve our air, water, and soil.” Founded in 2013, they make composting a more realistic goal for local businesses and companies that want to compost, but do not have the means.

There are a few things that Hopkins students need to do to keep the program running. King expressed: “It’s important that the student body understands that only biodegradable material can go in the green bins because they are part of the solution.” King stated that “the next step is for the student body to be more aware of the composting program, and that will make it more successful. Any kind of composting program is only as good as the people who use it.” Next time you are in the dish drop area, take note of the signs above the green bins: “If people are going to drop their wrappers into the wrong bins then it is going to cause a problem for the program in the future.”

How to compost!
What to do:
  • Throw away any nonbiodegradable materials in trash bins outside of the dish drop
  • Throw leftover food in the green bins
  • Napkins can be thrown in the composting bins as well
What not to do:
  • Do not throw away ice cream wrappers or yogurt cups in the dish drop area
  • Do not throw away leftover food in the trash bins outside the dish drop area
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