Patrons of Leutner Dining Hall may have noticed that for a few fleeting days at the beginning of the semester there was a new composting initiative. Diners would self-sort their waste—food in one bin, plastics in another. However, just a short while after the program appeared, it disappeared from the dining hall.
Worry not those many ecologically-minded among us, Case Western Reserve University has actually been participating in a back-of-the-house composting program since 2014. Bon Appetit partnered with CWRU’s Office of Energy and Sustainability and the University Farm—Squire Valleevue and Valley Ridge Farms—to create a composting program for all campus kitchens.
More notably for students, this past fall semester brought about a composting program that is open to the students at Fribley Marche. Vincent Gaikens, the campus executive chef for Bon Appetit, explained that “the overall success of this program has to be the lasting high point for me personally … We have had great success rolling out this program at Fribley, as of the first semester.”
The implementation of a composting program at Fribley has “doubled the amount of material coming from [dining services at CWRU].” However, the University Farm cautions that this increase in composting materials, while in the long-run beneficial, also includes the possibility of creating problems by having too much compost and not enough labor and space to correctly process it.
Gaikens noted that for the Fribley kitchen’s composting program it took two months of planning and preparation before it could be followed correctly. This involved training employees and a detailed mapping of the logistics of the process.
A composting program designed specifically for Leutner is expected to be implemented at the beginning of February with the help of trained student volunteers and Bon Appetit staff.