City College works to increase composting awareness

Compost bins behind the culinary department contain food and paper products. Both containers contain materials that are completely compostable. CHRISTINA R. HERNANDEZ / GUARDSMAN

By Lauren Tyler
Staff Writer

Composting has been an uphill battle for the recycling department at City College due to the lack of knowledge on proper recycling and composting procedures according to Recycling Coordinator Carlita Martinez.

Almost all food scraps are compostable. Paper products, such as used paper plates and paper scraps are compostable as well. Plastic, glass and aluminum however, are not but have a home in the recycling bin, said Martinez.

Recycling and composting have both been highly utilized over the past year at City College, with approximately 55 percent of the 2000 tons of waste generated from City College in 2007 being diverted from the main waste stream according to an annual report generated by the recycling department.

The majority of the waste at City College is “compostable, some recyclable, but mostly compostable,” said Martinez.

California had originally set a goal of 50 percent diversion in 2002, according to the State’s Integrated Waste Management Board Web site. For the city and county of San Francisco, the same diversion goal was set in 2000, though the city and county’s goal is now 75 percent, which, Martinez said, “is uniquely San Francisco.”

Presently, there are a few departments at City College involved in composting. The Culinary Arts and Hospitality Department has increased their composting containers from four to twelve over the last year.

After beginning to compost, they now avoid over “100 pounds of waste [from] a considerable amount of eggs and food trim per day,” said chief instructor chef Keith Hammerich.

Also, the graphic arts department plays a vital role in the development of a stronger recycling department by providing poster art and literature seen throughout the school. Each semester a new series of art promoting a more environmentally conscientious school is developed.

City College student Jaz Vassar said she believes there should be an environmental prerequisite.

“Once you know, it’s hard to go back,” said Vassar.

Kristina Lewis, another City College student, feels that it is just ignorance that is hindering City College from becoming a more sustainable campus.

Vassar and Lewis both recycle at home but composting still has yet to catch up.

“I hope I am doing my part,” said Lewis.

Martinez said that hopefully environmental literacy will become part of the class catalog, allowing the recycling department to reach students on broader level.

Click here for some eco-tips from our recycling department

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