Climate change is a serious issue — in case you weren’t sure. This semester, it was made personal at the University of Connecticut as groups such as Fridays for Future made waves with their strike and subsequent sit-ins pressuring the university to take more concrete action against climate change.
While a lot of the current discourse around the issue is centered around getting governments and large multinational companies to make wide-reaching change, local efforts are still a core part of environmentalism. Individuals changing habits like diet, consumption and lifestyle still contribute a lot to the current state of how we understand and care about climate change.
In addition, food waste has been a problem that the university has long been aware of. Dining services has taken many steps to ensure food waste on campus is minimized. This includes analytic systems like Leanpath and the move last year to change dining hall cup sizes.
With all this in mind, the University of Connecticut should start integrating local composting more, especially with its apartment complexes.
Composting is an easy way to reduce the amount of food waste that ends up in landfills. Currently, so many foodstuffs, from egg shells to spoiled leftovers, end up in trash bins and eventually in UConn’s dumpsters. Especially when many students living in UConn’s apartments are learning to cook and prepare food for the first time, there’s bound to be a lot of food waste.
Along these lines, promoting proper composting to fresh-faced adults is a good way to instill more sustainable habits. If someone learned to cook with easy-to-access compost bins for their detritus, they are more likely to use them even when the compost bins are not as readily available. Especially if UConn takes the necessary steps to educate and signal boost the benefits of composting, this can cascade into creating more conscious graduates.
UConn itself can benefit from a move like this. UConn has a lot of land and a lot of upkeep for it. Any effort to make this easier or more localized can help. Composting could be a good way to help feed the plants there, passively or actively. While this likely wouldn’t be a game-changer by any means, any bit helps, and the stuff is going to waste anyway as is.
UConn is doing a great job at taking food waste on campus seriously. Allowing students to easily help in that process should be just another step in furthering this goal.