Industrial Composting Club Develops New Compost Pick-up Program

Daniel Kim

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If you see first-year Linnaea Weld on a bike, you might want to gather your food scraps.

Weld and other members of the Industrial Composting Club have started a new bicycle composting pick-up program specifically targeted at the off-campus student community. Starting in the fall, members will bike along a circuit of Whitman’s off-campus houses in order to make it easier for all students to deposit their compost.

Weld was the mastermind behind this new program. After observing a similar compost pick-up project at Earlham College in Indiana, she knew she wanted to make it happen at Whitman. In order to achieve this goal, she applied for grant money through the Outdoor Education Leadership Fund, affiliated with the Environmental Studies department, to pay for the cost of bikes and the trailer in which the compost will be collected.

She hopes that the bike composting program will serve as an opportunity to help student agriculture and to share information about composting on campus. Even though the green leaders are not involved with this program, green leaders in certain residence halls teach their sections about composting. The compost club as a whole will be educating those off-campus students who are participating in the program.

“The bike is supposed to create more compost for the Organic Garden and the student agricultural plot, which needs organic waste for their fertilizer. Also to educate off-campus students who aren’t getting the education through their green leaders about composting,” said Weld. “We just want people to be aware of where their food waste goes, and what to and not to compost.”

She didn’t feel that she was alone in planning the project, however.

“I wrote the grant and brought up the idea of it, but everyone in the club has been supporting it,” she said.

Grace Farnsworth Phillips Professor of Geology & Environmental Studies Bob Carson is on the committee that selects recipients of the OELF grant. He supported the project because he felt the students wrote an excellent proposal and requested little money.

Weld hopes to see the pick-up program grow just as interest in the composting club continues to grow. One of her long-term goals is establishing an internship to lead the bike composting pick-up program.

“We are trying to get as many people involved with the program as possible before we actually start in two weeks. Someone might be able to take this position as an internship next year, similar to the interns we have for the vermicomposting,” said Weld.

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